My Kid’s Going to College! What Now?

College is the newest chapter in our kids’ lives and they’re not the only ones adjusting to change.

College is a whole different ball game. Our kids will be meeting new people and we’ll have to slowly let them go. And this can be hard, especially if we’re the type of parents who shelter our kids from a lot of bad things.

The thing is, college is where they’re going to witness all these things firsthand. And the truth is, there’s nothing we can do about it. They’ll meet kids from all walks of life—each with their own culture and set of beliefs.

While our kids are excited to new people, explore, and have a bit of “freedom” as they go to college, we as parents have a bit of adjusting of our own to do.

1. Acknowledge that we’re scared to let our kids go.

Of course, we’re afraid to let our kids loose into the world. We can joke and say that it’s because they’ll terrorize the rest of society but deep inside, we know it’s because we’re scared of what the world might do to them.

18 years doesn’t feel enough to prepare them for all the “evils” the world has. But by denying our fear, we subconsciously act upon it.

We try hanging out with them more often, put our foot down on certain get-togethers by coming up with some reason we initially agreed to, and sometimes, yes, lie to them by using a “family gathering” as an excuse. But doing so just makes them pull away harder—they’re at a stage in their lives when they want to establish themselves and be themselves.

Instead, acknowledge that they’re leaving the nest and take on a small hobby. Go out with friends, have some me-time, or spend time with your partner. That way, it’ll gradually fill the void that our kids leave when they go to college.

2. Find out who else is attending the same college your kid is.

Finding out who’s attending the same college as our kid gives us that peace of mind that there’s something (or someone) familiar within their circle. That way, it’s not completely unknown territory—especially if the college isn’t our alma mater. And even if your kid and that mutual person or friend are from different college courses, there’s still a chance that they’ll bump into each other.

At the same time, if the college is far from the house and you live in the same subdivision, you can even make arrangements for your kids to join a carpool—for convenience, accessibility, and the reassurance that they will go to and from school with people you know.

3. If they’re driving, have them practice the route.

On average, parents let their kids drive their cars by 18 years old. But with the traffic worsening by the minute and day, plus the school being a new, unfamiliar area, it can be scary for them. What you can do is have your kids practice driving to their respective colleges and back, with you sitting beside them the whole time.

You can even have Waze or Google Maps on your dashboard to navigate until they get used to the route. And eventually, when they are more confident, they can drive to and from school on their own.

4. Have a heart-to-heart talk to your kid about their college courses.

When our kids are at the point where they’re choosing a college course for themselves, we suggest (and sometimes impose without realizing) a college course because we know there’s money in it. Some of these choices include anything pre-med, management, engineering, pre-law, or, more recently—computer science.

While our kids will always take our suggestions for college courses, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll do well in it. Or that they even like the course in the first place.

Instead, talk to them about their college course choices and be open about them shifting courses. Remember, it may mean more work for your kids, but it’s also possible to minor or double-major. But even so, at the end of the day, the goal is that they graduate and finish college.

5. Avoid info-dumping about all the “evils” in college.

Alcohol, drugs, smoking, and sex—we know that college is where all this happens. When teens or kids discover their newfound freedom and keep us on a “need-to-know” basis, they’ll probably do all this stuff. Just keep in mind that they didn’t do this to spite us. Rather, it’s out of their own curiosity and possibly even peer pressure.

However, this is where we have to trust our kids about how to handle these things. Talk about it little by little. These are not topics you just dump on them in one go. This is also a test of how well we know our kids. Ever wonder why some parents are too calm for our liking about their kids going to college? It’s because they know and trust their kids.

But when it does happen, the last thing they need is our judgment. Discipline them, yes—but remember that antagonizing them when we’ve probably done something just as bad or worse will just drive them away even more.

Sending our kids to college is both a hello and a goodbye.

When our kids go to college, it marks the end of our active parenting days. Our days of being an authority will soon be gone. Now, we’ll have to take a friend or mentor-like stance, wherein we’ll have to accept that they won’t always take our suggestions. And as much as homeschooling offers the comfort of keeping our kids away from all the evils, we can’t keep them holed up in their rooms forever.

One way or another, they will find information. Better they do it in college—a place we’re familiar with—than finding it on someplace like Reddit or the dark web.

More about kids and college?

New Colleges of Medicine Signed Into Law: How It Helps
This College Came Up with a Creative Way to Attract Students to the Library!
The Easy Drinking Guide for College Kids

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