You are weeks away from dropping your child off at college. For many, this is your first experience doing this. I understand how emotional and significant dropping off your child at college can be. As a parent myself, I've experienced the mixture of pride, excitement, and sadness during this transitional period.
I am sure you have read other blogs, poured over various social media posts, and talked to veteran parents about drop-off and the first few weeks your child will be at school. Here are a few tidbits we wanted to share with you on top of the more obvious ones usually discussed.
Resist the urge to control:
During the move-in process, I had to resist the urge to take control and let my children take charge of unpacking and arranging their belongings in the dorm room. It was challenging to balance my desire to help with their need for independence, but I knew giving them space to make their dorm room their own was crucial. There will be a multitude of times when you will want to control the situation; move in is just one of them.
As parents, stepping in and finding answers or solutions for our children when they encounter challenges or uncertainties can be tempting. However, resisting this urge and empowering them to figure things out independently is essential. Encourage your child to take the initiative and ask questions when they need assistance or information. Don’t go searching for answers for them. Don’t solve their problems! Letting them take the lead in navigating college life builds their problem-solving skills and confidence and fosters a sense of responsibility and self-reliance. It's okay for them to encounter obstacles along the way; these experiences will provide valuable lessons and opportunities for growth.
As parents, we can offer guidance and support by being a listening ear and providing encouragement. Remind your child that it's okay to seek help and advice from campus resources, professors, or peers. Encourage them to engage in campus activities and join clubs to meet new people and explore their interests. College is a time for self-discovery and personal growth; giving them the space to do so will be immensely beneficial.
While it's natural for parents to worry about their child's well-being, letting them fly means having confidence in the values and principles you've instilled in them throughout their upbringing. Trust that they have the tools to succeed and handle the responsibilities of this new phase of life. By stepping back and allowing your child to lead the way, you'll witness their transformation into independent, capable adults, ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities of college life. Seeing them grow and flourish on their own path is a beautiful and rewarding process.
Encourage Respectful Relationships
Respecting roommates and their space is crucial when dropping off your child at college. It's essential to remind your child about being considerate and inclusive as they share their living area with their new roommate. Encourage your child to communicate openly with their roommate about their preferences and boundaries for the shared living space. Establishing ground rules together is essential to ensure a harmonious living environment for both parties.
A critical point to emphasize is that your child should consult their roommate before arranging or rearranging the room or making significant changes to the shared space. While they might be eager to create a comfortable and organized space, it's crucial to respect the roommate's input and preferences. Emphasize the importance of compromise and open communication to avoid any potential conflicts. Encourage your child to be understanding of their roommate's needs and to find common ground when making decisions about the room's layout and organization. By being respectful and inclusive from the start, your child can set a positive tone for their relationship with their roommate and create a welcoming environment that fosters friendship and cooperation throughout their time in college.
So, when you move your child into their room, try and resist the urge to get the room all situated the way YOUR CHILD wants it, and instead encourage your child to wait until all roommates are there for input. This simple step is the very foundation of the start of a healthy and respectful relationship.
When the time comes for goodbyes, the motto should be, the quicker, the better. Move your child into their room, get any supplies they may have forgotten at the local Target, and then leave. Do not take them out to dinner. Do not spend the night and join them for breakfast, and do not LINGER. Rip the bandaid off and let them be alone with roommates and hallmates.
I tried my best to keep the atmosphere positive. I expressed my love and confidence in their ability to thrive in college. A quick and cheerful goodbye is what your child needs. There is plenty of time for tears in the car.
Staying connected was essential for both of us. We agreed on a communication plan that included regular phone calls, texts, and FaceTime. This helped us bridge the physical distance and made them feel closer to home. In the days following drop-offs, I experienced a mix of emotions. It was hard to see my children starting this new chapter without me by their side, but I knew it was a necessary part of their growth. Seeing them homesick, lonely, and a bit lost was also difficult, but I knew it was all part of the process. Giving them time to settle in and adjust to college life was crucial, and I had to trust that they would find their way.
As time passed, I saw my children grow and mature, and their college experiences became an exciting journey filled with personal and academic growth. While it wasn't always easy, dropping off my children at college was a significant milestone for both of us, strengthening our bond and teaching us valuable lessons about independence and resilience.
Just remember, Parent's weekend is right around the corner!
Good luck! I believe in you!