transition to college for parents/caregivers and students can be exciting and
stressful, simultaneously. While parents or caregivers may no longer be physically
present every day to support their student during this transition time, they
are nonetheless a very integral part of their student’s support system. How
parents or caregivers and their student negotiate and accept those changes can
be a relationship enhancing experience or it can be an additional stressor for
the student. Here a few recommendations that we invite parents and caregivers
to reflect on as they consider how to help their child be a successful college
yourself what an excellent parent or caregiver you have been to your student
thus far. The love you have given them and the skills they have learned from
you have prepared them for college life. Although you may be worried about how
well they are adjusting, allowing your student to sort out the details
themselves is immensely important as they move from being dependent on you to
being more self-reliant.
with your student. Since you know your student better than others, it is normal
to see changes in their moods or behaviors. Talk with them about these
changes. Listen to their thoughts and
feelings in a way that communicates understanding. Even though your student may be showing signs
of change it does not necessarily mean they are in distress.
- Be your
student’s adviser, not their problem-solver. Ask questions that might help them
generate their own ideas of how to get through the crisis. Encourage them to
solve their own problems by talking with
them, not at them. When they can
manage the crisis in a manner that empowers them, they are more likely to do
this again in their adult life and will be more likely to seek your input the
Again, it is
common and normal for your student to be experiencing new stressors in
college. While these stressors may lead
to occasional or temporary discomfort, the behaviors listed below may indicate
cause for concern, especially if the student is exhibiting more than one of
- Drastic decline in academic performance.
absences from class.
- Failure to
signs of depression (sad mood; listlessness; lack of energy; weight loss/gain;
withdrawal; excessive crying).
- Extreme mood
changes or inappropriate expression of emotions.
with food or body image.
panic attacks, irritability.
or threatening behavior; homicidal threats.
to suicide or talk of death, hopelessness, or helplessness.
criticizing or judging your student.
- Express your
concern in a caring manner by using “I” statements that focuses on what you
have noticed or what you are feeling.
- Know your
own limits. Parents and caregivers can
do a lot to help their student and sometimes, professional help is needed.
your student to make an appointment with Counseling Care (308) 865-8248. Many students are hesitant to contact us but
we meet with students for a variety of different concerns. If we determine that your student’s mental
health needs are more than our services provide, we can help get them connected
with another professional in the community.
is an important piece of the counseling relationship. While it may seem strange for you as the
parent or caregiver not to know what your student shares with us in counseling,
confidentiality is meant to help the student engage in a trusted relationship
with the counselor. Unless the student
permits the counselor to share information with someone, we are prohibited by
law to do so. If your student is under the age of 19, a parent’s or guardian’s
consent will be requested.
are not allowed to release a student’s information to anyone without their
permission, we can certainly take in information from anyone. If you have concern about your student,
please feel free to consult with one of our counselors.
challenged with managing a new schedule, classwork, developing new friendships,
and getting involved with campus life.
Respecting their time to let them accomplish all of this lets them know
you have confidence in them. You can
trust that while your relationship with your student is being revised, it is
not being severed. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions
regarding how you can best support your student while attending UNK.