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5 Steps Parents Can Take Before The Transition to College

5 Steps Parents Can Take Before The Transition to College

One minute they’re young and fragile and you’re rocking them to sleep, and the next they are ready and raring to flee the nest with as much excitement and vigor as they once had for Chuck-E-Cheese and unicorns. Life is fleeting, and nothing is more evident of this than when your child goes away to college.

For a lot of us, thoughts of having our child stay close to home for college, maybe even taking online courses so they don’t have to go far away, has crossed our minds. As parents, the role we really need to play is more supportive and less overbearing at this point. You can and should help your child be aware of all the options available to them by looking at a list of all the schools in your state or taking a college tour together, but in the end the decision needs to be their own. Once I realized that, I avoided my daughter wanting to strangle me for not allowing her the freedom she desired at this point in her life and I was able get the reassurance and comfort that she was ready and able to be on her own. Here are the five things I found necessary to prepare both of us for the transition ahead.

Managing Finances

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    I am a true believer that there should be a serious focus on finances and managing a good budget in the junior and senior years of high school. Generally, kids graduate high school with no knowledge of how to manage their funds on their own. Whether you are able to help your child out financially while they are in college or not, if they do not know how to stretch that money, I can almost guarantee there will be a call for more finances or they will decide to take out loans to supplement the help — and spend that carelessly as well.

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    We live in a digital age, and trying to get kids to do anything on pen and paper has proven to be difficult. When I was going over a budget with my daughter, we did find several great budget apps that she could download right to her phone so that she always had them at her disposal. They also allowed her to begin saving for the trips she wanted to take.

    I didn’t have to pester her about her money situation (as much) and she was able to take control of her own finances and take that road trip to Havasu Falls like she wanted. Win win.

    Tech Support

    You don’t have to be tech savvy to have experienced the heartbreaking realization that you just lost everything you were working on because the computer failed. The blue screen of death is the real deal and is, unfortunately, something that many college students have a story about.

    Imagine this: it’s finals week and you’re putting the finishing touches on a huge paper — when suddenly, the computer crashes…

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    Having a backup plan is always important. Purchasing not one but two external drives for your newly attending freshman is a huge step in avoiding the looming computer-crashing story. Not only does it help them to keep their computer fairly clear of unnecessary data so that it runs smoother and quicker, but it allows them to save work often so nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

    I say two externals because, as any parent knows, there is a good chance that our efforts to help with tech issues could be overlooked and used for other things. One external for schoolwork and the other for music and entertainment. A work and play set of external drives helped to keep my recent graduate organized and generally on task.

    Basic Life Skills

    From a very young age, I had my daughter help me sort laundry and do household chores. I allowed her to do her own shopping and make dinner once a week at home while in high school so I was confident in her abilities to fend for herself, but one day I got a call asking me how to put gas in her car. She was dead serious and I didn’t know whether to laugh at the idea of her standing there confused trying to pump gas in her car or be upset with myself for failing to show her such a simple task. In the end, we both got a good laugh out of it, but it was a good reminder before she was off to college about the need to revisit even the little things before they are off on their own.

    Whether we think our young adults are ready or not, double checking whether they are capable of basic life skills may sound silly, but it is very necessary. Do they know how to do their own laundry without shrinking everything or turning it another color? Can they cook decent meals for themselves? Do they know how to put gas in their car? These are all very valid questions that a lot of us never think to ask because we are the ones that take care of these aspects of their lives.

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    Heart to Heart

    It seems as though there is always a headline about young college student fatalities from drunk driving and assaults on college campuses — sexual and otherwise. Overlooking the very real possibility that something could happen, in my opinion, is irresponsible. A conversation about drinking and driving is one your child probably won’t enjoy but will appreciate.

    Talking to my daughter about safety and smart choices before she went off to college lifted a weight off my shoulders and, whether she admits it or not, she walked away more aware of herself and her potential circumstances. Even in this day and age, reaffirming to young ladies that it is okay to say no and that her body is not a barter system is necessary. Dinner and a movie doesn’t equate to owing anyone anything. You’re not a tease or a prude, you’re a strong young woman (or young man). For every 1,000 women on a college campus 35 are raped every year. These are very real numbers, so educating our sons and daughters about the facts is prudent.

    Having this conversation before my daughter left for college helped me to reign the stress in. Knowing that she understood kept me from the checking in with her as much as I probably would have otherwise.

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      Financial Aid

      The biggest source of stress for a lot of people when starting out in college is working out the financial aid information. For a lot of first year college students, the paperwork is extremely daunting. Set aside time to go over this with your child, either from home or with someone in the financial aid department at the university. This will not only take added stress off your child but it will give you an opportunity to speak with someone who can explain in detail the different kinds of loans available and how that process works.

      These five things made the transition from home to college living much easier on all of us. I felt more confident in her ability to take care of herself, which made me less of the overbearing, concerned, badgering mother I know I can be. We’re parents, we worry. It’s what we do. Being present without being pushy is what is most important, so that we don’t push so hard that we push them away.

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      Last Updated on October 16, 2019

      5 Powerful Ways for Building Fulfilling Relationships

      5 Powerful Ways for Building Fulfilling Relationships

      We all have relationships. We have acquaintances, relatives, colleagues, neighbors and friends. However, for a large percentage of us, many of these relationships are not fulfilling.

      They are unfulfilling because they lack real strength; and they lack real strength because they lack real depth.

      Unfortunately, in today’s society, we tend to have shallow, superficial relationships with others, and it’s extremely hard for this kind of relationships to provide anything more than faint satisfaction.

      I’d like to show you, based on my experience as a communication and confidence coach, how you can add a significant amount of depth, and thus strength, to your relationships and make your social life a whole lot more meaningful.

      Here’re 5 simple yet powerful ways for meaningful relationships building:

      1. Meet More People

      This is an apparent paradox, but the quality of the people you meet has considerably to do with the quantity of people you meet.

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      If you don’t know a lot of people and you barely meet one or two new people every season of the year, considering the variety of individuals out there, you won’t meet very often people who are a good match with you in terms of personality, interests and values.

      And since this natural match plays a huge part in building strong relationships, you’ll just as seldom have the opportunity to develop strong relationships.

      Conversely, if you go out a lot, you meet a lot of new people and you constantly expand your social circle, you’re much more likely to meet people you match up well with, and these people have a tremendous potential to become good friends, reliable partners, etc.

      This is why it’s important to meet more people.

      2. Talk about the Things That Matter To You

      A relationship becomes the strongest when two people discover they believe in the same things and have similar interests. It’s these commonalities regarding values and interests that create the strongest emotional connection.

      I’ve noticed that many people keep conversations shallow. They talk about trivial stuff such as the weather, what’s on TV, the lives of various movie stars, but they rarely talk about what really matters to them in life. This is a mistake from my perspective, because it’s the perfect method for a relationship to not develop.

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      Talk about the things that truly matter to you and give others a chance to know what you care about and what you believe in. If they believe in the same things and they care about the same things, they’ll eagerly let you know. Thus you’ll find meaningful common ground and you’ll feel more connected.

      3. Express Vulnerability

      Many people try to come off as perfect. They don’t talk about their failures, they hide their shortcomings and they never say anything that could embarrass them.

      This is all just a facade though. You may appear perfect to some, but you know you’re not perfect and they know that too. You’re only human and humans have flaws.

      However, by hiding your flaws, what you do succeed in is appearing cold and impersonal. You seem like a marble statue rather than a real person. And this makes it very hard for anyone to connect with you emotionally.

      Humans connect with other humans, not with ideals. Keep this in mind and don’t be afraid to let your vulnerability and your humanity show. This is what takes a relationship to the next level.

      Take a look at this article and find out Why Showing Vulnerability Actually Proves Your Strength.

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      4. Have Integrity

      Integrity, as I see it, is the alignment between your thoughts, your words and your actions. When you say what you think and you do what you said you’ll do, you have integrity.

      This is a crucial trait because if you have integrity, people can trust you. They can trust you to give them an honest feedback, even when it’s hard to shallow, and they can trust you to keep your promises.

      This trust is one of the central pillars of a strong relationship, both in your personal and your professional life. So, as challenging as it can be sometimes, always try to have integrity.

      Be honest with the people around you, even when this will initially hurt them. It’s more important for them to trust you than to not feel hurt. And always do what you promised. Even better, think twice before you promise anything, and only promise what you really can and you are willing to do.

      5. Be There for Others

      Another central pillar of strong relationships is support. Connections between people grow sturdy if they can rely on each other for support when it’s needed, whether that support means a few kind words or several massive actions.

      Of course, you can’t be there for everybody, all the time. Your time, energy and other resources are limited. But what you can do is identify the genuinely important people in your life and then seek to be there as much as possible, at least for them.

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      Your support will help them practically, and it will comfort them emotionally; which makes one hell of a difference in a relationship.

      The Bottom Line

      With the right mindset and the right behavior, you can strengthen a wide range of relationships in your life and advance them as far as they can be advanced.

      And with strong relationships, not only that you feel more fulfilled, but you feel more connected to the entire world. You feel that your life has real value, you have more fun and you live in the moment. An entire world of opportunities opens up in front of you.

      Then your task is to simply walk through the open doors.

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      Featured photo credit: Proxyclick Visitor Management System via unsplash.com

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