The guide to: Dropping your kid off at college Dropping your teen off for the first year of college can be the most stressful,emotional and overall life changing experience. Whether you’re the type to circle the campus to catch a glimpse of your freshman or rip off the Band-Aid and drive away ASAP, these tips will help ease the pain of you loosing your “baby”.
The first year isn’t forever. There are so many disputing messages that you get as a parent about communication. Books and articles tell you not to call or text or Skype all the time. You are told to not let her come home if she is homesick. You think your kid will love everything about college but you soon realize you they don’t. That leads me to the next thing…. when your kid tells you they want to come home. If your kid says they want to come home, it doesn’t necessarily mean for good. Coming home every now and then is good for the soul. It reminds your kid that they will always have somewhere to return to, outside of their dorm. You will realize that visiting is OK. A day trip goes a long way.
Don’t stick around. If you’re dropping them off, drop and go. Yes, help them carry and drag their belongings up to the sixth floor, but don’t linger and be the weird mom. Don’t hang around helping to unpack and organize things. This gives them a chance to do something when they first get there, so things arenǯt totally awkward between your kid and their roommate. I do suggest that you write letters and send care packages. The beginning of college can be lonely. Everyone has a mailbox and there is nothing better than opening it to see a postcard or personal note.
Calm down! It will help your kids chill, too. Yes every other parent will tell you how stressful it is to help get your kid to his or her dorm. From the SAT tutors, to sending over official transcripts, to having the office of admissions on speed dial…you need to chill. Being on your kids back about college essays, collecting letter of recommendations will not only stresses you out, but it will drive your child crazy. And it will make them want to get out the house even quicker. Push and motivation from a parent is a must donǯt get me wrong, but just donǯt make them study the SAT practice book for dummies at the dinner table. I absolutely believe that less worrying is more effective.
Figure out how to assist with choosing classes. The most annoying thing is when parents come in the picture pretending they know anything about the class requirements for general ed. Don’t they get that this is college in 2015, not 1980? I suggest that parents educate themselves on the school curriculum. I don’t mean memorize the classes and course descriptions, I just meant he basics of the way it works. Make sure you understand that match before your students have to make important choices.
You’re not losing your kids. When your kids do leave for college, yes they
leave their nest. What parents don’t know is that you will become so much closer to kids when they do return to the nest on holiday breaks and summer vacation. You may feel like leading up to the time your kid leaves for school, you’re losing my baby. And it will be an emotional train wreck. You may even cry listening to your favorite songs on the radio, driving in the car by myself and even shopping in the grocery store (embarrassing). However, you will realize that when he or she comes running back home to momma they will be off and running around doing the same old typical teenager shenanigans. You will find your kids to be much more communicative. He or she will texts you several times a day and even call you several times a day asking the cutest questions. Your relationship was solid before, but now that your child is in college, it has really soared. Do not be fearful of losing your kid to college or growing up because your relationship is simply entering a new phase, and we will form an even stronger bond.
Resist the urge to smother. Do call or text to check up on them after you leave so they know youǯre thinking of them, but don’t be weird and feel like they are being watched and questioned all the time. They will brush their teeth and change their underwear…at some point. This is for them to figure out. I promise, theyǯll be doing this on their own by graduation day, hopefully
Have the significant talk before the drop-off. Don’t count on having a historic goodbye once you get to campus. The day is meant to be hectic and stressful and not the best time to list off you parental concerns. Instead, have the meaningful talk or one last big lecture to discuss those things before you arrive. You may want to talk about the dangers of taking one to many shots (before they go get blacked out with their new roommate) or the awkward sex talk (just use a condom) or to use your credit card for emergencies only (as they are about to go buy chaser on your card).
Teach them how to take medicine. The dorms are nasty. Lets just say your child will be living in a motel 6 for their first year away from mom and dad. Teach your kid to take medicine! Your child will get sick freshman year, and it will be at 2 a.m., and they will not go to CVS; it will be closed. As your kids were growing up you handed them medicine, and you told them what to take, but we don’t teach them and they don’t know how. Before they leave for college, it’s time to teach themsomething about over-the-counter remedies and the basics of first aid.
Don’t forget this isn’t about you. College acceptances are not Mommy Wars. This isn’t about bragging to your friends about admissions or scholarships or how much the soccer coach wants your daughter. It is about finding the best fit for your child, the place she will feel the most comfortable and be able to thriveeducationally, socially and make the connections she needs to find a job. How many of us changed our major once we got to college? And how many of us are working in careers we never even thought about?
Take a second to glance one final time. Recognize who your child is