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Three Positve Keys to Parenting a College Student

Jun 17, 2008
Parenting a college student is an on-going process. To ease parental controls during these launching years does not mean that parenting a college student is any less significant than parenting a young child. Actually I think the stakes are higher. This is the final round.

Parents have to adjust to a new set of anxieties, power struggles, emotional volatility, and mental health issues that surface during the college years. Parents tend to worry about binge drinking, late night parties, and other unhealthy behaviors. These behaviors can be exacerbated if the parents' relationships with their children are on rocky ground.

When parenting a college student, parents can establish a positive relationship by adhering to three positive keys. These three precepts are: be a good Listener - listen when they speak; celebrate their successes; and hold them accountable and responsible for their actions.

Parenting College Students - Listen When They Speak

Parenting college students is not about instructing and taking control over their lives. It is about applauding and nurturing their independence. Your student is establishing their autonomy. The first key to establishing positive relationships is by listening to what the students have to say.

Parents must pay attention to what their children are saying, especially when issues arise in their lives that are important to them. We facilitate their growth and maturation by allowing them to solve their own problems. In doing so, our children will develop invaluable skill of problem solving which increases both their confidence and their self-esteem.

It is important to empower your child. In taking ownership of your young adults' problems, you are sending the message that they are incapable of doing for themselves. You can brainstorm options for your children, but allow them to make the ultimate decision.

Parenting College Students - Celebrate Successes

The second key to positive relationships is to celebrate their successes with them. These emerging adults need encouragement and validation from their parents. Your approval is important to them no matter what they say.

Tell your children they are doing a good job, and that you are proud of them. Be sincere. Children inherently want to please their parents.

Take the time to share in their accomplishments. Visit them at school, and attend their performances, whether it's a soccer game, piano recital, or homecoming weekend. In celebrating successes with our children, we are significantly strengthening the bonds of our relationship.

Parenting College Students - Hold Them Accountable for Their Actions

In parenting college students, actions speak louder than words. If your child makes a poor decision or an error in judgment, you can further a healthy and positive relationship by holding them responsible and accountable for their actions.

For example, if they overspend on cell phone usage, suggest that they work extra hours in order to pay for the bill. Young adults will learn life lessons from these experiences, and the lessons learned will hasten their growth and maturity into adulthood. In parenting college students, back off the subject once they have taken responsibility for their actions and judgment.

So, listen to what they say, celebrate their successes and hold them accountable for their actions. These are the three keys to positive relationships with emerging adult children.
About the Author
Dr. Debi Yohn, http://CollegeWorks101.com, is an International Speaker with an elite private practice and a revolutionary parent mentor program. She has authored 4 books helping parents and their college students find success and joy in the college experience.
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