Adjusting to a new environment and phase in life can be challenging. This is especially true for teens who are newbies to college environments. Nevertheless, as a parent, the onus lies on you to help your teen adjust to their new environment without feeling too overwhelmed.
If you’re considering how to go about this, here are some tips that could help them settle in quickly.
Avoid Asking If They are Homesick.
The power of association can be a dangerous thing. The first few days and weeks of school are packed with activities and meeting new friends. The challenge of meeting new people and adjusting to a new environment takes the majority of a new student’s time and concentration.
So, unless they are reminded of it, students will probably be able to escape severe bouts of homesickness. They may not tell you this- but they really do miss you! The human mind is amazing in the way it works. It can get so occupied with one thing that it forgets the other till reminded. Helping your teen adjust might also include keeping their minds on campus and off home.
Write (Even If They Don’t Write Back).
Although first-year students are typically eager to experience all the away-from-home independence they can in those first weeks, most are still anxious for family ties and the security those ties bring.
Sensitive parents may misinterpret this surge of independence as rejection, but this may not be the case. Email and Instant Messaging are great methods for keeping in touch with your teen. A Whatsapp message here and a 2-minute call there to remind them of their security net can do wonders for their confidence. It might not seem like like it but that 1-minute call and small grumbles they do in return helps your teen adjust marvellously.
Ask Questions (But Not Too Many)
Teenagers have a tendency to resent interference from their parents and their lifestyle as they seek more independence. This is particularly true for those in the first year of college.
Parental curiosity can be perceived as obnoxious and alienating or as helpful and supportive. It depends heavily on the approach and the attitudes of the people involved. The best thing is usually to let them direct the conversation. If they’re gushing about something, let them. If they’re suddenly quiet or withdrawn probe gently by starting with topics they like to talk about.
Honest inquiries that foster discussion and encourage independent decision-making are very helpful in developing a productive parent-child relationship.
Visit (But Not Too Often)
Visits by parents are another part of the first-year events that new students are reluctant to admit liking but would appreciate greatly. They give the student a chance to introduce some of the important people in both worlds to each other.
Additionally, it’s a way for parents to become familiar with their teens’ new activities, commitments, and friends. Spur-of-the-moment surprises are usually not appreciated. While you may be excited about surprising your student with a visit, your ward may not be happy to see you when you arrive. They most likely will interpret it as either interference or a lack of trust in them. This will likely hurt your relationship more than help it. Helping your teen adjust can also help you adjust to the fact that they’re becoming adults. You have to remember that always when dealing with them.
Finding oneself is a difficult process without feeling that the people whose opinions you respect most are second-guessing your own second-guessing.
One of the most important things my mom ever wrote me in my four years at college was this: I love you and want for you all the things that make you the happiest; and I guess you, not I, are the one who knows best what those things are. She wrote that during my senior year.
Believe in your son or daughter, have faith, and communicate your trust.