Preparing for the transition to college is a challenging period full of uncertainty, anxiety, and excitement for both emerging adults and their parents too. Roles are evolving and everyone is trying to figure out how to interact in new and unfamiliar ways. College-bound emerging adults may express the need for more freedom and independence in their decision-making even while parents face the heightened worry of wanting the process to go smoothly; often resulting in tensions, conflicts, and arguments. But this is not inevitable. As parents, you can take proactive steps to manage your own, often conflicting, emotions. The following simple tips will help you better navigate this uncharted territory.
Even with the best of intentions, parents can find themselves becoming over-involved in their student’s preparations and on-campus experiences. Staying aware of this tendency and mindful of the warning signs will help you avoid this trap. Some of these signs include:
Lastly, parents need to remember their own needs during this process. Grief is common, as is feeling the effects of an “empty nest.” To make sure you are re-experiencing the same freedom and autonomy that your emerging adult is learning, try these suggestions:
Be proud of the fact that you have helped normalize this experience and have been instrumental in your emerging adult developing a sense of self-agency, self-efficacy, and independence!
Suggestions adapted from The College of St. Scholastica’s Guide for Families Transitioning to College and The Naked Roommate: For Parents Only by Harlan Cohen.
Yellowbrick collaborates with adolescents and emerging adults, ages 16-30's, their families and participating professionals toward the development and implementation of a strategic “Life Plan.” An integrative, multi-specialty consultation clarifies strengths, limitations, and risks, and defines motivations, goals and choices.
A mental health condition that’s characterized by intense shifts in mood including both manic and depressive episodes.
People living with Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, experience episodes of depression and sadness that are debilitating to daily life.
Those living with anxiety disorders experience high levels of anxiety and stress that interfere negatively with daily life.
A mental health issue in which a person’s cognitive function is impaired, resulting in symptoms like experiencing challenges with conducting speech, reading and writing, and behavior.
Mental health disorders that negatively affect a person’s behaviors, thought patterns, and function. People diagnosed with these disorders experience challenges with managing relationships and understanding various situations.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that people can develop as a result of experiencing traumatic situations, characterized by symptoms including flashbacks, avoidance behaviors, and more.
A mental health condition that is characterized by specific symptoms of forgetfulness and lack of concentration, which makes it challenging to complete necessary tasks.
Mental health conditions that interfere with a person’s eating habits, thought patterns, and behaviors in negative ways.
A mental health disorder diagnosable with the DSM-5 that is characterized by both obsessions and compulsive behaviors.