During your child's first year of college, it's important to stay connected but not OVERLY connected.
While it may be tempting to hover in on all the new goings-on in your child's new college life, you'll actually do your child a service by letting them assert their independence, make their own choices, and solve their own problems (with just a *little* advice from mom).
According to Dr. Joanne G. Sujansky, CSP, and Dr. Jan Ferri-Reed, the authors of the new book, Keeping the Milennials (Wiley), parents CAN help bolster their child's independence and future hire-ability by hovering less. The authors emphasize that "hovering parents are limiting their children's success."
Parental Do's and Don'ts While Your Child's in College:
- Help them move into their dorm room or apartment
- Guide them on their course of study
- Send a care package when they are sick
- Give them advice on how to deal with roommates
- Guide them on assignments when they ask
- Coach them on how to interview for a job
- Introduce them to people who can give career advice
- Ask how things are going
("You may laugh at some of the 'Don'ts,' but they actually come from real cases of extreme, over-the-top helicoptering parents of millennials," says Sujansky.)
- Move close to them for a while (or move in with them) to clean their room, do their laundry, or make sure they are "okay"
- Pick their major
- Register them for their classes
- Email/call their professors
- Call them after each class or text them for hourly updates
- Call the roommates' parents to solve the conflict
- Collect research for them
- Go to a job interview with them
And since the authors say it's important to ask your child how things are going...
Four Ways to Stay Connected with Your College-Bound Child
- Video Chat - Buy a web cam for $20 dollars and download a free video chat service, like Google Talk and Skype. Schedule “face-to-face time” each week.
- Phone - Save money by signing up for a family plan. Not sure which service is best? Compare family plans on MyRatePlan.
- Text - While it may not make any sense to engage in a brief two or three word exchange with your own child, just get over it. You’ll have a much better chance of learning what’s going on in his/her busy college life if you simply give in to the power of the new shorthand world. Sign up for a free text service, and you’ll spare the added phone bill costs. Check out: Text for Free.
- Snail Mail - Nothing will bring a smile to your son/daughter's face more than opening their mailbox to find a good old fashion letter or greeting card. And every college kids loves a care packages with homemade goodies inside.
And if regular contact falls off your child's radar, lay down the law - "I'm your parent, and I’m entitled to at least one phone call per week."
Is your child off to college away from home for the first time? How are you coping?