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Parenting College Students - Mutual Activities That Won't Embarrass Your Student

Jun 18, 2008
In parenting college students during their launching years (generally the first two years in college), parents want to stay connected with their emerging adults while respecting their need for independence and privacy. Parents are often in a quandary about staying involved in the lives of their children but not overstepping the parents' welcome into their students' lives.

Parents also make the mistake of over focusing their attention on activities that are harmful to their maturing young adult children, such as binge drinking and late night parties. This type of instructional dialogue will only fray the parent-child relationship, and further exacerbate the parental tendency to worry. The college student will turn a deaf ear if they have heard these same words over and over. So save them.

In parenting college students, we need to be supportive of the students' efforts, celebratory of their successes and proud of their accomplishments. Parents can converse with their children concerning which activities they would like to share with their parents. Actually, listening is probably the best way to communicate. Let them do the talking, especially if you do not throw in conversation stoppers, like, "You didn't do that, did you?" No lectures when they are telling you a funny story. Take mental notes.This is the time to listen.

Parenting College Students - Peer Pressure is Acute

Peer pressure is particularly worrisome for parents when it comes to negative behaviors, such as drinking and drugs. There is a high incidence of drug and alcohol related crimes. Parents want to practice effective parenting techniques by staying a viable part of their children's lives. Parents need to remain available. Believe it or not, college campus's have better crime rates than the world at large. Crime has increased on campus though and college students need to be reminded to be safe.

When parents visit their student it is important to find mutual activities on campus that won't embarrass them. Moms and Dads must remember how it was when they were in their launching years. During these times, students are filled with anxieties combined with emotional volatility and mental health issues.

Kids are easily embarrassed. They question being seen by their peers with their parents. This isn't always true, some kids are very proud that their parents visited them. It's fun to tell your students your own stories and how you felt when you parents came to campus. There are some activities that parents and their students can share, just ask them what they want to do. Your student will appreciate your allowing them to guide the activities.

Parenting College Students - Some Mutual Campus Activities

Your student will probably have some suggestions. You might talk to them before you arrive and have them plan the schedule. There may be a restaurant they want to go to (since you will be paying) or there may be something happening on campus. Athletic events, concerts, art shows and musical programs are some of the activities that may be of mutual interest. Just let them take the lead. If there is a place you are interested in, you might suggest it or do it on your own.

Parents can enjoy walking around the campus. Perhaps your student can give you the tour or you can simply pick out a comfortable bench on the quad and people watch for awhile. Share a nice dinner together in a restaurant that is comfortable for both you and your student. Most students appreciate a good meal. Try and let your student recommend the dinner site. There are so many ways for parents to share fun activities with their student. It is not a bad idea to go off on your own at times and allow your student to stay on their routine. Remember, they will not always be this sensitive. They are trying to figure all this out so be patient.

When you are making plans, always be sure to obtain and to value your child's input. Your relationship with them has shifted. You are on their ground. It is like they are showing you their new home. Keep it pleasant so you can enjoy many visits while they are in college.

Campuses are fun. There is so much good energy. The library is a great place to visit and don't forget to go to the bookstore. This is a great place for souvenirs.

By parenting college students in an environment of mutual love, understanding, and respect, both parties will find activities that they can share. Parent and students alike will eagerly anticipate the parents' visits to campus. These are bitter sweet years, your young adult is about to earn their wings.
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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