One of the most exciting and at the same time most painful events in our adult lives comes when our children graduate from high school and are ambitious to move onto college and possibly graduate school, studying to achieve the careers of which they have always dreamed. When this time comes you wish them well, but you may also worry about them. After all, how will they manage now that they will be on their own, far away from home, for the first time in their lives?
How will they do with their academic work? What about the people they will be associating with? Will they be a good influence on your children or will they end up leading them astray? Here is what you can do to prepare them for a healthy lifestyle at college.
1) Instilling values
We have all heard the term “peer pressure” used again and again to describe the phenomenon by which young people feel compelled to behave as their peers do, even if such behavior goes against what know is right. The fact is that only in the absence of parental authority can this kind of pressure take hold.
If children have been taught from an early age that they need to worry about what their parents think and not about what their peers think, they will not be vulnerable to peer pressure, no matter how far away from home they may be.
Similarly, you will want to look into the reputation of the institution that your child wishes to attend. Is drinking or drug abuse a major problem on campus? Are the students known for being diligent in their studies or do they prefer to attend wild parties and otherwise waste their time? If you find that the student body is too shady, then it will probably be a good idea to persuade your child that it is not within his best interests to attend school here.
Be with your child when he decides to take a tour of the college or university that he is interested in attending. Observe the campus while you are there and ask questions of the kinds discussed in the previous paragraph. Likewise, when you come to the dormitory where your child will be residing during his stay here, find out if he will feel comfortable in this setting.
3) Keeping in contact
Once the academic year has begun, write letters and emails to your young college student regularly to see how he is managing, both in his classes and in his relationships and extracurricular activities. You might also want to take the time to visit him there and see first hand how he behaves in his new environment. You can also get to know your child’s new friends while you are there.