Children Away at School: Warning to Children and Parents

The calendar had made it to fall and the common trauma of bidding the kids farewell has taken its place among the emotional realities of life. Those who experience the milestone know all too well that life must go on, and with its passing, changes in family dynamics. It is part of the path toward the long-term beneficial change and ultimate success. Unfortunately, the unexpected can destroy the hopes and aspirations of children and parents alike, and only a certain amount can be done to defray its occurrence.

Leaving the nest may stimulate the excited feeling of freedom and independence as well as the trauma of separation, but even though there may be resistance to preaching for which parents are famous, the hope that one or more of the words of wisdom may somehow penetrate -- thought processes of youth and the words must be uttered no matter how offensive the reaction may be.

Tell your children that they MUST tell you right away if they are in trouble. They must risk your indignation in order to get the help. Don't be afraid to consult counsel. The cost is far less than you imagine, and far less than what the expense may be if they complicate their exposure.

A lot of young people do not know their own susceptibilities. It is clear that so much drinking and partying goes on in our colleges and universities. There are regulations and supervision, hopefully enough, that prohibit or restrict imbibing on or near the campuses. It is this writer's opinion that they are never strict enough. The age limits are matters of law, underage drinking is violative of that law, and although the temptation may be hard to resist, it absolutely has to be.

The consequences are often underestimated. A brush with the law is often a ticket to suspension, expulsion, or restriction in extra-curricular activities that are passions for the respective students and are depended upon as stepping stones toward key goals in the candidate's agenda. That is only a small part of the equation. They may find themselves in danger of losing their financial aid, or being unable to attend the graduate school of their choice.

Quite frequently, parties and excessive drinking lead to violence or conduct that exceeds slaps on the wrists as possible penalties, The criminal charges may carry probationary or jail sentences, and permanent sanctions. One of the problems that the parents face is that if their youngsters receive traffic citations and fail to tell the parents, licenses can be suspended, and even the parents' driving privileges can be affected without them knowing about it. Insurance can be cancelled and suddenly members of the family are driving vehicles that are uninsured, which in itself carries severe penalties. Uninsured drivers who cause injury while driving, may be subject to incarceration.

These are only a few of the traps that await the college bound. Avoid them if you can.
BUT, talk to your children. Plant the seeds of caution in their subconscious. Education in life goes far beyond the textbooks and the lecture halls.