When teenagers are in their first year of college, you as parents still have a crucial role to play. While you're not in the same kind of control as you had been, you might consider adopting a coaching presence. While it will get you no place to demand an accounting of their whereabouts, you still should ask questions that will guide your kid, now a freshman making a big step in advanced adolescence to take charge of personal as well as academic explorations and appropriate decision-making.
Use the following questions to engage your kid in a conversation. These questions are structures so you can learn about their challenges -- from not understanding course requirements to succumbing to peer pressure. This way you can steer your kids away from poor choices. Remember yourself at that overwhelming first year of college, trying to cope with your feelings of loneliness, anxiety and insecurity -- when your ambition was to belong, make friends and develop an intellectual life. As a parent, you can't fix these issues yourself, but playing the role of mentor will help.
Q1. Which classes do you prefer?
Q2. What are your assignments like?
Q3. How are you studying for exams? What do you think of study groups?
Q4. What are the interactions with your professors like?
Q5. What did you learn from orientation and how are you applying it?
Q6. Which clubs and activities interest you? Which have you explored?
Q7. What are your new friends like?
Q8. How are you dealing with the difficult issues that go alone with studying vs. partying, money and time management, and self-discipline?
Try not to judge. Be supportive and encourage them to use this first year of college as a laboratory to learn about themselves while they're learning about the world.
To begin, you begin!