Changes Leading to Student Independence
Although it may be difficult to see your student leave home, remember that he/she is learning skills that will lead not only to a successful education and career, but also to a satisfying life. As a student becomes more self sufficient, his/her reliance on you will begin to change. You may find others are replacing you as a source of influence and advice; remember, however, your college student needs the freedom to create his/her own personal goals and plans, and seek the counsel of professors and friends. Your ability to be flexible will be a steadying influence on his/her change. It will be important for your student to know the security of home is always there, and that a parent is still a parent even when encouraging and allowing for more independence.
Just because your student moves away from home doesn’t mean they no longer need you. It’s as important as ever for you to remain involved in your student’s life –it’s important to his/her success! The key is to be interested in what is happening in your college student’s life, while respecting the fact that they are becoming an adult. Some ways to remain involved without being intrusive:
- Don’t make your conversations with your student feel like inquisitions.
- Do ask your student what he/she is learning in his/her classes, instead of focusing solely on grades.
- Don’t drill your student for details about each of his/her new friends.
- Do keep conversations balanced; also let your student know what’s happening in *your* life.
- Don’t call or e-mail every single day; let your student contact you when he/she wants to talk.
Here at the University of Central Arkansas, students meet people from different geographic locations as well as different ethnic backgrounds and cultures. They will be encouraged to appreciate the diversity among people. It will be important for parents to share in this process and encourage the exploration of our diverse world. As students become more familiar with diversity, they will become more comfortable learning from and interacting with different types of people. UCA offers a multicultural environment to promote the attainment of better communication skills and improved management of relationships with others. You become the beneficiary as your son or daughter develops maturity, gains more wisdom, and is better able to live in this diverse world.
A student who feels trusted by his/her parents:
- Has more self-confidence
- Can stand up for what he/she believes
- Knows he/she has support at home
- Is able to say "no" when he/she should
- A student who does not feel trusted by his/her parents:
- May defy authority because it’s expected
- Feels unable to communicate about what’s really happening at college
- Will look to other influences, that may or may not be good, for support
As your student grows, a normal part of development will be experimentation with a variety of roles in an effort to establish individuality. As a parent you may find this both pleasing and troubling. However, as the experimentation takes place, you may find it challenging to understand and support what is going on with your son or daughter. You can make a significant contribution to their growth by allowing the liberty to explore various alternatives and reach their own conclusions about academic majors, career options, and friends. You can also serve as a role model by accepting change while remaining constant with your personal values.