Count down to college!!! Preparing your brilliant scholar for the next chapter of their academic matriculation can be an exciting AND stressful time. We often don’t give enough attention to the unacknowledged grief symptoms and increased anxiety and worry that may present during this major transition. It’s natural to feel anxious as we transition from one phase of life to the next. When we cannot control the experience, the mind often creates its own narrative. Let’s normalize the uncertainty that exists in this space for the student AND the family.
What can families do to stay connected?
A care package goes a long way. Most students are so happy when their loved ones send them care packages full of all their favorite things. They have reported feeling loved and supported.
A quick text to check in on well-being. Ask your student if they are getting restful sleep. Have they met any interesting new people? If they are eating? Allow them to vent. DON’T try to solve their problems; just LISTEN.
Schedule specific calls to check on performance: Students have noted not wanting to pick up for parents because the call leaves them feeling MORE stressed. Schedule a recurring time to check in regarding academic progression. Try not to make every check-in about grades.
Remind them of their brilliance during high-stressed periods: Move-in, midterms, finals, and other high-stakes exam periods, to be specific. Try to be gentle with your scholar. Remember, the teen brain is not fully developed until 25, which means they are doing their best to manage the intense emotions happening at once. Try to remind them who they are and why they are capable of doing their very best.
Know their class schedule. Try to avoid calling your students while they are in class. Knowing their schedules allows you to find breaks in their day to check in without activating their anxiety. Students report an increase in immediate stress levels when their parents call during inopportune moments because they feel pressured to answer.