Watching your child leave home can be nerve-wracking for any parent. With the state of the world as it is and your child being new to it, it can be tough to let them go. If you’re worried about your teen’s college experience, sit them down and discuss these three things with them.
- Encourage therapy: With almost all universities in the U.S. requiring proof of health insurance, it would be a shame not to utilize the services that you’re already paying for. Since college is such a stressful place, both intellectually and socially, most of these services include access to a certified therapist that can help your teen talk through their issues and insecurities. Therapists are also in place to help continue the management of previously diagnosed mental problems, such as anxiety, depression, or addiction. They can also aid in the acquisition of emotional support animals, should your child need it. Remember: therapists are there to help!
- Warn them about the dangers of drinking: Its important to know that, even if you firmly believe in the intelligence and responsibility of your child, they’re almost definitely going to experiment with drinking during their time at university. While addiction to alcohol is very common in college settings, with over 20% of college students meeting the requirements for Alcohol Use Disorder, it isn’t the norm (as the remaining 80% prove). Do your best to educate your child about the risks of alcohol, not just in terms of addiction to alcohol, but simply in terms of being safe about how you go about it. Make sure they know never to leave their drink unattended, and to balance each drink they have with a glass of water, if they can, to guard against alcohol poisoning. Knowledge is power, so the more prepared they are for the binge drinking situations they’re inevitably going to find themselves in, the better.
- Tell them to have fun, but be smart about it: College is supposed to be the most exciting and liberating time of your life. While it does have its risks, the benefits of friendship and learning far outweigh them. You don’t want your child to live in solitude out of protection; you want them to explore as much as they can, as long as they think about it beforehand. As with all things, living on your own in a new, completely freeing environment takes balance.
Now that your teen is aware of the risks, like addiction to alcohol, as well as the benefits, like the absolute joy that college can bring, you can rest a little easier knowing you gave them the best, most useful information. Remember: you can open the door for them, but they are the ones who need to walk through it.