#028 – Signs of Trouble – How Do You Know If Your Student Is Struggling?

Once your child steps into the world of college – even if it is in the next room – both parents and students begin experiencing a new stage in development. Students are exploring the academic and social world of college; parents are exploring the experience of stepping back and watching them do it.  But, it is also part of the parenting package to worry.  In this episode, Lynn and Vicki highlight some of the signs that parents can watch for that may indicate that their student is struggling. All college students will hit a few bumps in the road, and the more parents can think about how to identify signs of trouble, how to explore situations further, and how to  decide whether or not to intervene, the better armed they will be to support their student’s growth.

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In this episode, Vicki and Lynn look at some of the signs and/or red flags that might help parents recognize when their college student is struggling.  It is parental nature to worry – and sometimes we worry about whether to be worried!  Lynn and Vicki talk about what to watch and listen for and when you might decide to step in.

Lynn mentioned two books that are great resources for parents:

The Naked Roommate: For Parents Only by Harlan Cohen

and a new edition of the classic You’re On Your Own But I’m Here If You Need Me by Marjorie Savage

Lynn also shared four important questions that parents should ask themselves before deciding to intervene, taken from Marjorie Savage’s book, and then Lynn added a fifth question of her own.

  1. Is this an issue that most students your child’s age can handle? Is there some reason why they cannot handle it on their own? (Being too busy or having homework doesn’t count!)
  2. Will your student learn something by handling this on their own? Is this something you can talk them through instead of jumping in?
  3. Will your involvement complicate matters or make them worse?
  4. Do you have the full story?
  5. (Lynn’s addition) Does the issue involve the safety of your student?

If you’d like to do some further exploration of some of the topics discussed in this episode, we recommend some of the following articles:

Three Things You Should NOT Ask Your Student to Share with You

Your Role as a College Parent: Sideline Coach

Why College?

8 Campus Resources Your College Student Should Know

Don’t forget that you can listen to all of our previous podcast episodes here or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.

Let us know what you’d like to hear about on future podcasts! Leave a comment here or email us at podcast@collegeparentcentral.com.


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