1. SOLVING THEIR PROBLEMS. Kids are getting to college emotionally unprepared to deal with daily problems. From a young age, problem solve WITH your child rather than solve their problems. There is a huge difference. One sets them up with life skills, the other renders them powerless. Imagine that your 9 month old is learning to walk. If every time he tries to take a step you run over and move his feet for him, will he ever learn to walk?
2. CO-RUMINATING. Listen to your child’s woes but don’t jump in there emotionally with them. Give them compassion and understanding, but don’t talk about it non-stop and get all wrapped up in the issue at hand. It’s proven that this makes things even worse for your child. Help them move on from a situation rather than help them stew in it.
3. GETTING THEM OUT OF CONSEQUENCES. Consequences are what show your child that their choices have ramifications. If your child earned a certificate for perfect attendance, would you run in and swipe the certificate before it was presented? No!! It should be the same for negative consequences. It is a powerful teaching moment. Let them learn!
4. CHECK THEIR GRADES…CONSTANTLY. Your child is more than their report card. Make sure that you are appreciating and nurturing and praising your child for who they are. Your child can still be happy and successful even if they are making all C’s and plan to tour Europe after high school. If you are interested in their grades, have them look it up for you and then talk about it if necessary.
5. DOING THEIR CHORES. In a world where kids are stressed and overloaded with homework, we want to relieve some stress points for them. However, you should still require that they do chores. This allows them to feel a part of the family and to feel needed. It allows them to develop a sense of self. They have to learn to function in every aspect of life not just academics.
Why do these things matter? Because college kids are in crisis and it all starts with your parenting. Now more than ever, college kids do not know how to function emotionally away from their parents. Every hurdle is seen as a crisis. Every emotional discomfort (breakup, failing grade) becomes a meltdown. We as parents need to trade in our Blackhawk helicopters for a pair of roller skates. [In case that metaphor isn’t clear, stop being a helicopter parent!]