CCD Counseling Staff in Denton, Decatur, Lewisville, and Farmers Branch

Out of the Nest: Transitioning from Home to College

Marie Zubiate,
Parents usually have high hopes and great expectations for their children. From a young age, we encourage our children to seek what makes them happy. The “world is their oyster.” “The sky is the limit!” They should aspire to “do great things.” These words of encouragement seem so easy when they are young. Before we know it, those children have become young adults and many of them are now going to college. They are starting to spread their wings and fly out of the nest. Or maybe they were gently pushed out. Either way, they are making a decision that is both exciting and terrifying for parents. This transition can sometimes result in conflict, stress, and anxiety for your family.

One common source of stress for parents with a college bound child grows out of the instinct to ensure that your child's basic needs will be met. Where can my child go to for medical attention? What are the living options for students? How do we finance college expenses? What is college campus safety like? What is the weather like? These are all legitimate questions and concerns that you will want answered at each college your child visits, as the answers will vary from campus to campus.

Embracing your child's new found independence can be as difficult for you as it is for them. Many parents are concerned that this transition into college will result in their child becoming involved with the wrong group of people. They might make poor choices. They might not take advantage of all the opportunities their college has to offer. Parents even wonder if their child will maintain a relationship with them after they go to college.  Parents struggle with how to support their child without stifling their independence.

Here are four tips to get you through this stage:

<strong>1. Breathe</strong> - Do not panic. Parents and students alike will get a plethora of information. This can be very overwhelming especially if this student is the first one in the family to go to college. There are many people available to assist you. Begin the college admission process with your child early. This will help ease you and your child's anxiety and will allow you to handle the transition more gracefully. Be aware of the timely action or response that will be required at times and take it one thing at a time, but do not panic. It will be ok and you are not the only ones who are experiencing this transition.</p>
<p><strong>2. Ask</strong> - When in doubt, ask. Ask the admissions office, ask other students, ask your child. Becoming an intricate part of your child's transition will help ease your mind. Take a tour of the campus. Attend new student orientation with your child (yes, parents are invited!).<br />
Assist your child with moving into their dorm or other student living. It is the university's job to ensure that they have all the answers to your questions and more.</p>
<p><strong>3. Discuss</strong> -  your concerns with your child.  When coaching parents how to manage this transition, I encourage them to communicate, be informed, and stay positive- encourage your child!<br />
<strong><br />
4. Believe</strong> - Consider the amount of love and nurturing you have provided your child. Remember the moral compass you have ingrained in your child to help them navigate these many decisions. Believe in the fact that you raised your child to be a self-sufficient person who is capable of making the right decision for themselves. After all, you did support and teach them to understand the importance of a higher education. You have helped get them there. Believe they can handle it. Believe you can handle it. Because you can!</p>
<p><a title=MarieZubiate coaches parents and leads the Out of the Nest Workshop about the home to college transition. She counsels individuals and their families in the CCD Denton and Lewisville offices.