photo of stone bridge near The Wellesley College Club by Andrea Verdelli
Remember that the Counseling Service is available to provide support to your student. If you have concerns, you can call us to consult about how to proceed or what supports are available. Even though counseling is confidential, you can tell us anything.
Remember that your student might be experiencing a time of transition. This could be true for first years, seniors, those going to or coming from abroad, transfer and exchange students. Transitions can stir up a person’s sense of security as one is not quite sure of the rules or of one’s place/niche.
Keep in mind that as your student transitions, the entire family begins to transition and experiences significant shifts and changes. For parents in particular, you might also experience confusion, helplessness and a sense of void in your life as your student becomes more self-reliant or looks to others for support and advice.
Being able to acknowledge shifts and changes is a good thing. So when your student shares new experiences as well as the many feelings that accompany them, take time to listen. The more you listen, the more your student will open up.
Having a room of one’s own might still be important. So think twice before giving up the personal space at home, even if the younger sibling can’t wait to have the room.
The developmental stage and task(s) for the traditionally-aged student is one of identity and intimacy. This will take many shapes and forms. So, just wait a while and be patient as they get a sense of who they are and who they want to be.
There is the education in the classroom and the education outside of the classroom. Both will get your student prepared to navigate life. Learning how to manage conflict and to advocate for oneself is part of the overall education. Also, participating in extracurricular activities helps one to manage time, organize the schedule and take on different roles and leadership positions, set priorities and ultimately prepare for the work world.
Developing greater self-reliance and autonomy skills is also a part of the education outside of the classroom. So let your student begin to depend more on oneself and less on you. Instead of doing certain tasks, encourage your student to do it. Say, I know you can do it. Call me later once it’s worked out. This could include scheduling appointments, managing finances, etc.
Although it might feel at times that your student is leaving you and has little interest in remaining connected, know in your heart that you remain very important!
Check out our various websites; there is a host of information that you might find interesting. Encourage your student to do the same.
If your child is calling home in distress, encourage help-seeking behavior, whether at the Counseling Service, with the Resident Life Staff, Class Dean, Cultural Advisor, Spiritual Advisor, etc.
Remember the On-line Screening tool which includes self-screening for depression, anxiety, and eating issues. This screening tool can be accessed via the Administrivia Channel in the Students tab of MyWellesley.
Make plans for Thanksgiving. If you live far away and it is not financially feasible for your student to come home for Thanksgiving, discuss this ahead of times and talk about options, i.e. visiting a family member who is closer, going home with a friend, finding out what is available on campus, and who will be around during the holiday. Thanksgiving is a family holiday and students who do not make plans to get off campus, can experience deep loneliness. Professional staff are on vacation during this holiday.
Ask your student how often you should talk, and what feels right for both of you. Have an open conversation about this, giving the message that a mutual decision is what you value. This will give permission to think about what your student needs and is comfortable with and it will also assist you with the transition as your student grows and develops.
And last but not least, I bet your student would love to receive a surprise care package!
Enjoy the experience………