Welcome to the world of no control. That is how many parents feel when their child goes to college and they are no longer able to keep an eye on them on a constant basis. It is not that all parents are ‘helicopter parents,’ it is just that many people like to keep tabs on the whereabouts and the what-abouts of their children. When they leave home for the first time, this becomes much more difficult.
So, how can parents keep somewhat of an eye on their child when they are hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from home? Communication is the name of the game.
In today’s society, communication is made so much easier than ever before. We can even have instant gratification in many circumstances. Let’s consider:
· Texting: Young people communicate mostly by using their phone’s keypad. This is a simple method of ensuring that you can send simple messages back and forth during the days or weeks that your child is away.
· Instant Messages: Facebook offers a nice instant messaging program. You can even tell if your kid is online and available – if you and he/she are friends on Facebook that is.
· Cell Phones: Have you ever seen a child that owns a cell phone without it for any length of time? Answer, probably not. Kids are connected to their cell phones more than most other devices available today. As long as you don’t call too often, it is likely that you can have a wonderful conversation with your child.
· Skype: This is a fantastic method of communicating for free and being able to actually ‘see’ your child on your computer screen. All you have to have is a computer with a camera and the download already established in your system. Perhaps you can even have regular times and dates that are mutually beneficial to both you and your child so that you can check in and see how they are doing.
· Packages from home: You may not consider this communication, but along with some much-needed supplies, goodies, personal care essentials, gift cards, etc., a hand-written note is always good to cheer up even the most aloof teen.
These are just a few suggestions as to how to keep open communication with your child while they are away at college. Now you do not want to check in too often and you will also want to keep in mind that you were young once, too. Don’t gripe all the time and try to understand if their room looks to be a mess when you speak with them over the computer.
If you can do all of these simple things, your relationship with your college student may grow even stronger than when they were living at home. Kids have to develop a sense of themselves, you can be a big part of that by being there for them. It is all in the approach – and in the communication!