If you have a child going off the college, there are a few important lessons to teach them before they head out on their own.
1 – Understand the Importance of Drug and Alcohol Safety
There’s no denying that your child will go out with friends during their freshman year, but this doesn’t mean that they have to be unsafe. Explaining the line between a fun, safe night out and alcohol or drug abuse is important, even before they step foot on campus. If addiction runs in your family, you may want to consider bringing the whole family in for family substance abuse programming. These programs help identify any addictive behavior and approach a treatment plan for the whole family. It’s important that not only does your child know the signs of addiction and abuse, but that you do too.
2 – Grades Matter
You’re paying a lot of money for your child to get a college education and degree, so before they head off to school, teach them some effective study techniques so they can keep their grades afloat. You can help your teen develop good study habits by:
- Creating weekly and daily plans
- Building rewards into studying
- Learning effective studying strategies
- Creating a calendar and checklist for every class
- Create a clean, organized study space for your teen
- Have all needed materials ready
These tips will help your high schooler learn all about the importance of studying and how to do it effectively. Although freshman year is the first year in college, it isn’t the time to slack off and let your GPA slip. It’s much harder to increase your grade point average than deduct it, so starting out on a strong note will help your student cruise through the remaining years of college.
3 – Emotionally Prepare
About a year or so before your child heads off to their freshman year, make a plan of how to emotionally prepare them (and yourself!) for this major transition. Discuss how often you will be in contact, when you might see each other, and answer any life questions your teen might have. They are likely just as nervous as you are for this new adventure, so have these talks early to prepare them for freshman year.
4 – Work on Problem-Solving Skills
According to Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and psychology professor at Northeastern University, “a lack of problem-solving skills has been linked to mental health problems, such as depression and suicidality.” Before your teen heads off to college, make sure they work on their problem-solving skills to help them navigate the world on their own. If your child’s problem-solving skills are lacking, they might be more likely to make a rash decision that could be harmful. These decisions could arise during a tough class, during a spat with a roommate, or any other hurdle that college presents.
Sending your child off to college is an exciting time. Prepare them, and you, by working on problem-solving skills together, emotionally preparing, and discussing the importance of grades and being responsible with drugs and alcohol.