College Getting Closer? Make the Transition Easier By Communicating Today

Transitioning to college can be difficult for both teens and parents. Freshmen are dealing with a whole new world, more intense academic pressure and living away from home for the first time. Parents are also transitioning to a different dynamic at home and watching their child explore a new environment and experiences. While all of those emotions are natural, this transition is made even harder if parents don’t give their children freedom and space in the years leading up to college. But taking steps today, prior to college, can help make the transition easier by setting boundaries, expectations and building trust and respect.

So what’s a caring parent to do to help make the transition to college easier? Start giving your child more independence and freedom earlier on. Setting realistic and reasonable boundaries together around their responsibilities and your expectations while giving them the space to make their own choices will not only better prepare them for college, but will also create a more pleasant environment at home. Here are some topics to discuss with your teen to get on the same page:

  • Checking in: Have your teen send a text message or call home at a set time. Agree upon how often your teen should touch base as a way to create trust between both parties. Encouraging two-way communication is a great way to build the relationship that will help when your teen moves to college.
  • Curfew: When your child turns 16 and gets a driver’s license, make sure to talk about how late they can be out on weekdays and weekends.
  • Responsibilities: Part-time jobs during the summer or school year can teach your teen discipline with their time management and their finances. Take them to the bank to set up a savings account and agree on what percentage of their paycheck will be deposited.
  • Dating: Talk to your teen about boundaries. This is also a good time to remind them about staying safe, as uncomfortable as that conversation might be. While some conversations may be difficult now, they are easier to start when your teen is at home and able to talk one-on-one.

If you are a parent of a soon-to-be college student, check out this other blogs about preparing for college:

Photo credit: Jeffrey Smith

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