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Letting Go and Staying Connected: How to Parent Your College Student

staying connected with your college student
My College Planning Team – Letting Go and Staying Connected

Congratulations!  Join the club!  You are now the parent of a college student!

For nearly two decades, we have raised our children, created opportunities for them, and served as their strongest supporter and advocate.  Now, they are off to college, where they are immersed in vast sea of opportunities in the company of mostly strangers.  We are wondering how to stay connected to our young adults.

Letting Go Can Be Hard to Do

We have written the check, said our goodbyes, and told by college officials to “let go and let us…”. So-called “helicopter” and “lawn-mower” parenting sounds like the wrong thing to do.  We don’t want to be “one of those” parents, but we’ve not been shown a better alternative.

Our students have embarked on an exciting journey to adulthood. Many miles away, they are engaging in activities and exploring possibilities that may be foreign to us and we are at home thinking and worrying about them.

Staying Connected is Harder!

Previous daily interactions with our child are replaced by short texts, snaps, Facebook posts, and a very occasional phone call.  Our student enjoys a level of freedom and autonomy away from our watchful eyes.  We find ourselves having less control over their day-to-day activities and that will sometimes keep us up at night.

Our parental influence is lessened and a diverse collection of college staff, faculty and peers now impact our student in ways that we may never fully know.  But, such are the challenges of “collegiate parents.” It is simply time to move beyond the college search process and parent orientation and continue preparing ourselves for whatever may emerge in the next few years.

This is all normal progression and personal development, but it doesn’t always feel right.  Sometimes it can be downright uncomfortable.  The internet is loaded with advice, some of it really good!  But how do you actually put it into practice for your situation?

Staying Connected:  How To’s for Parents

Why now? How do you prepare?  Whether you are a first time parent of a college student or have done this before, our experience tells us that each child is different.  The mechanics of getting your child settled in college are finished and now is a good time to take a breath to reflect and recalibrate your parenting approach going forward.  And, there is actually assistance available.

An Opportunity to Learn More

Two experienced college educators (and parents themselves) have partnered to create a seminar for parents of new college students.  Their seminar is a conduit for collegiate parents to examine new ideas and create practical strategies in their new role.  Dr. Craig Ullom, former Vice President for Student Affairs at Ohio Wesleyan University, and Stephanie Palubicki Kennedy, former Director of Student Activities at Northeastern University are the creators of “Letting Go and Staying Connected:  How to Parent Your College Student.”  This interactive seminar that is loaded with insights and information to inform new collegiate parents.

For more information on this emerging area of parent development, contact Stephanie Palubicki Kennedy, founder of My College Planning Team.  Parents in the western suburbs of Chicago may register for the Seminar here.

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