One of the most exciting things in a teen’s life is when they get that letter in the mail that says they are accepted to college. All their hard work has paid off, now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of their labor. But before you buy the first dorm decoration, before you pack a single suitcase, there are 5 important conversations to have with your child before they leave for college.
They often say that college will be the best 4 years of a student’s life, and the most stressful for parents. I absolutely agree on this point. There are so many different emotions going through your mind that it can be overwhelming. Your son or daughter can’t wait to run off and be on their own.
But sometimes, they lack the emotional maturity to handle being on their own. That’s where you, as the parent, comes in by having these 5 important conversations to have with your child. I know that your student may be SO excited and ready to be out on their own, but these are extremely important, for all of you!
5 Important Conversations To Have With Your Child:
At this point, your child may be trying to fight good, old-fashioned parental wisdom. You may think it’s not worth the struggle. Well, I implore you, don’t let them deter you from talking to them about the real world. Older teens may think they are invincible. It is a huge mistake to let them have this kind of mentality. So what are these conversations? Let me start with an extremely important one.
UNDERAGE DRINKING IS A SERIOUS MATTER
Let me start off by saying, I don’t have a holier-than-thou attitude about this. Nor am I saying I wasn’t guilty of it. When I look back now, I can honestly say it was the most reckless decision a person(and myself) could make. Everyone is hearing about different schools where students have died from hazing or drinking too much. I want to make sure that it is something I can teach my children the dangers of.
The more we can educate our children about this, the better chance we have of preventing it. And for those that make the decision to partake in underage drinking, we need to educate them about what to do in that situation. Call a cab, walk home, sleep it off. Just don’t get behind the wheel of a car or even ride a bicycle home. The results could be deadly. If they are living at home while going to college and this situation arises, let them know you will pick them up, no questions asked. The situation can be discussed later when everyone has a chance to sober up and cool off.
And along those lines, we need to educate them about what to do if they see someone else drinking too much. Often these kids are afraid of getting in trouble by getting help. You need to tell them that they can help without hurting themselves. For more information, please go to the Don’t Stall, Just Call website .
MAKE SMART DECISIONS
One of the hardest things a college student may face is finding their place in the order of things. So in the process of trying to fit in, they may not make the smartest decisions. Things like vandalism, disorderly conduct, or even disrobing in public can lead to consequences that go beyond the incident. Huge fines, court appearances, even jail time may result, and that could affect their future employment prospects.
If they have to ask themselves if they should be doing it, chances are they shouldn’t. Explain to them that a moment of fun could lead to a lifetime of pain. It just isn’t worth it.
NO MEANS NO!
Young adulthood often means exploring intimate feelings. And sometimes those intimate feelings can take over common sense. And while the statement NO MEANS NO is often directed towards men, it also applies to the ladies as well. Sexual harassment charges are no joke, and ladies can be guilty of it as well. We, as parents, need to teach our kids that no one has to do something that they don’t consent to. Excuses like “they were asking for it” or “they were just as into it as I was” don’t cut it.
And there are resources out there for situations that go too far. Teach your children that if they can’t come to you(and I stress, make sure they understand that they can come to you no matter what the situation) then they need to talk to someone at their school.
Along those same lines, there should be an extensive discussion about being safe. This was one conversation I left to my husband because I felt our son would be more comfortable discussing it with Dad. I did leave the conversation open that I was available too. And for female students, perhaps a trip to the gynecologist should be on your list before your daughter leaves for school. This is hard for parents to think that their student may be in an intimate relationship, but if they are, at least you know they will be as safe as possible.
REMEMBER WHO THEY ARE REPRESENTING
It is important that you child remembers who they are representing. First and foremost, they are representing themselves. Any and all actions should result in them showing themselves in the best possible light. Their future could depend on it.
Next, they have to consider that they are representing their family. While their family may be a few thousand miles away, what they do could affect them. School is awesome, but family is forever.
And lastly, but just as important, they are representing their school. Just because they are off campus or away from school, doesn’t mean their actions don’t reflect on their school’s reputation. And when your school seems to be in the media spotlight, it is really important that your child represents the school in the best possible light.
The final conversation is a simple one:
HAVE FUN AND BE GREAT
Make sure that your child truly understands how proud you are of them for reaching their goals. For being accepted into the college of their choice. For working hard. For doing what it takes. Remind them that college is for having fun. Learning new things. Meeting new people. Visiting a place that they thought was only in their dreams. Just teach them to be responsible about it.
So I hope that you found these 5 important conversations to have with your child before they head off to college useful. Because, truly, it will be the best 4(or more if they are planning on pursuing advanced degrees)years of their life!
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So when will you share these 5 important conversations to have with your child?