Six Things You Can Do if Your Child Seems Unhappy at College

Graduation is here and Fall will arrive before we know it. Sending a child off to school can be scary for both parents and young adults alike. Here are some concerning issues to keep an eye on while your child is away, warning signs, and a strategic plan.

Beginning college is a life-changing and emotional transition for parents and students alike. It is a time for young adults to discover their independence, grow socially and emotionally while embarking upon the academic world to pursue their future careers.

Graduation is here and Fall will arrive before we know it. Sending a child off to school can be scary for both parents and young adults alike. Here are some concerning issues to keep an eye on while your child is away, along with warning signs, and a strategic plan.

Remember that Communication is Different Today

Technology has changed the way we communicate more than any other time in history. Constant access to a parent by the way of phone, video or text can make the transition to college that much harder. Be aware that your college student may be reaching out to you about little things because they can. Try to take notice of serious problems over times when your child needs to vent.

Listen and Empathize

If your child is unhappy at college, it is important to recognize and validate the pain your child is experiencing. Let your student know that you want to listen to his/her feelings, and pay attention. Be prepared to listen with your full attention and try to react without emotion immediately. Quite often, all your child may need is a sounding board. Just like adults, students need to vent, share their feelings and know they are heard. Advice is not always necessary.

Watch for Red Glags

You know your child better than anyone. Do not waste time if your child is displaying signs of depression or severe emotional distress. If your child struggled in high school, the changes in college and time away may be too much. Pay attention to any serious concerns, talk to those who can provide support, and give your child as much support and information as possible.

Help them before they need it.

If your child is facing typical issues, start with these strategies:

Identify the Problem; Encourage your Student to Keep a Journal

Your student needs to be able to discover and pinpoint the exact causes of stressors at school. Self-reflection is a critical skill throughout the course of life. Because there are various changes occurring at once, it can be difficult to pinpoint the problem. Encourage your child to keep a journal, whether it be through an app or through a diary. Self-reflection is a critical tool and gift you can teach your child. Using a journal will help your student get through some roadblocks, identify uncomfortable moments and be able to make substantial change.

Talk About the Issue

Now that they’ve taken some time to reflect on their issues, you should be able to help them identify the problem. Does it stem from their social, academic or emotional life? Encourage independence by letting your child solve the problem and offer to listen. Parental instinct may leave you wanting to jump in and solve the problem. However, it is best if your college student can figure things out without your assistance.

Encourage your Child to Become Involved in Campus Activities

You know your child’s interests and hobbies. Encourage him/her to seek out campus activities, clubs and groups that foster and bring young adults together.

What has been your experience? Have you gone through a situation like this with your child? How have you handled it?

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