As your child heads off to college, you are probably experiencing many emotions. That is only natural. It means that you recognize the enormity of the step that your child is taking. Remember how it felt when he headed to kindergarten, or got behind the wheel of the car for the first time? In many ways, this new phase is similar.
It is important to remember that this is a new stage for you as well as for your student. As the parent of a college freshman, your role is changing in significant ways. We’re often so busy focusing on our student that we forget that this is a transition for us as well.
Your coaching role
If your student is going to be living away from home, you know that your home-life will be different – more food, less laundry, more quiet, fewer dirty dishes. You’ll no longer be in the middle of it all with the action swirling around you.
So you now have a choice. You can feel lost and useless, or you can embrace your new role – as coach. Like any good coach, there comes a time to step back and observe the results of your hard work.
No matter how important the “big game” is, the coach is on the sidelines. No matter how much he may want to, the coach can’t play the game for the players. But if the coach has done his work in the pre-season, during all of those long practice hours, the players know what to do on the field. As a parent, we need to know that we’ve done our “pre-season” work. We need to trust our student to get onto the field and play the game.
We also need to remember that the coach has a job to do on the sidelines of the game. The players need him there. The coach gives suggestions about plays, congratulates and supports, scolds, cajoles, and sometimes registers displeasure. The coach is involved in the game, even though he’s not on the field.
And sometimes, the coach needs to take the player into the locker room and give him a talking to so the player will “shape up” and play the rest of the game differently.