As college parents, we want to support our college students. However, defining that support is sometimes more difficult than it seems. Each school is different. Each parent is different. Each student is different and may take a different path. Some students need more support than others at different times during their college career. As a parent, how do you know how best to help your student?
You will, of course, need to find your own way, but there are three essential elements that might provide the foundation of any plan to help your student. Start with these. Think about what they look like for you – and for your family. Then let your plan build from there.
Insist on honesty
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you expect your college student to share every detail of his daily life with you. There are probably some things you’d rather not know. It does mean, however, that you expect your student to be honest – with himself and with you – about the reality of his progress in all of its potentially ugly details. If he’s failing a class, he needs to let you know. If he’s on probation, he needs to tell you. If he’s gotten into some kind of trouble, he needs to share that with you. If his credit card is maxed out, he might ask for advice about how to deal with it.