It's officially August, and as summer starts to wind down, many new high school grads are beginning to feel the excitement/nervousness/anticipation of heading off to college in the next month or so. They can taste the sweet, sweet freedom and adventure ahead...as they should!
This can be an incredible phase of life full of new experiences, identity building, new friends, new romances, new passions, great education, and a whole new perspective on life.
College is wonderful...but it is also an extremely difficult adjustment, not only for the kids, but for parents.
Many college students experience some form of depression, anxiety, or loneliness at some point during this whirlwind adjustment.
And it is certainly no surprise that there is a slew of other mental and physical health risk factors they will be exposed to... (ahem....drugs and alcohol!). It's tough for some parents to think about that reality, but sugar coating it won't do anyone any good.
The point here is definitely not to scare anyone or deter or inhibit you from sending your teen to college. In fact, it is an incredibly healthy and developmentally appropriate decision and step in their life, and in yours. We do, however, want to encourage you to talk to your kids about all of this.
Do you have specific concerns or worries about a path they may go down? Are you aware that they tend to isolate and withdraw in new situations? Do you have ideas of how they can gain support and stay on track on campus? Talk to them about it!
At the end of this page, I have included a link to a very useful article from Clear Recovery Center in Hermosa Beach, regarding preparing your kids for the social aspects of college.
Remember, this is a completely new experience for them too, and while their new sense of independence and self-determination should be encouraged, you are still, and will always be, their parent...it's imperative to still offer support and help them prepare for success.
If you need help having this conversation with your teen, are concerned about already existing issues with your teen, or find that you need help adjusting to sending them off to college, please contact me!
The clinicians at Pacific MFT, including myself, provide teen, couples, and family therapy, and are skilled in working with adolescents, young adults, and parents experiencing difficult transitions.
Manhattan Beach and West LA, CA
(805) 231 - 7361
HOWARD BARKER | JULY 20, 2016 | Clear Recovery Center
5 THINGS YOU NEED TO DO THIS SUMMER TO PREPARE YOUR TEEN FOR COLLEGE
From the time a baby enters the world, parents have high hopes for their child. Parents often begin planning for college long before applications are submitted. Once a teen has accepted admission to the college of their choice, parents are faced with the harsh reality that their child is leaving the nest. If your child has been accepted into a 4-year university, it is safe to assume that they have been adequately prepared academically. What about socially? How can parents prepare their child for the social aspects of college? Here is a list of 5 things you need to do this summer to prepare your teen for college.
1. TALK ABOUT DRUG AND ALCOHOL USE – ESTABLISH OPEN AND HONEST COMMUNICATION
2. ESTABLISH EXPECTATIONS ABOUT COMMUNICATION
3. SCHEDULE FACE-TIME CONTACT
4. DISCUSS SAFETY – HELP YOUR TEEN AVOID RISK-TAKING BEHAVIORS
5. STAY INVOLVED ONCE THEY LEAVE FOR COLLEGE
Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world - Nelson Mandela