- Ask them to be proactive and honest, taking responsibility for their part in the problem.
- Many students rack up debt - and quickly. The taste of college freedom can feel euphoric, and students don't always make the best financial decisions
Many students leaving school are not ready for life beyond high school, and it isn't their fault. In my one-on-one talks, many have confessed that their parents had done everything for them. College was a wake-up call because mommy or daddy couldn't rescue them. Parents ought to do the following four things to their kids before high school life.
One, teach your child to communicate clearly and honestly. I have had countless students who wait until the proverbial poop hit the fan, and then throw a tantrum or crumble. College teachers do not have the time — and are not required — to coddle students who are struggling before freaking out when it's the end of the semester and grades are due.
When your child is struggling with anything, teach them how to communicate this to the adult in charge. Ask them to be proactive and honest, taking responsibility for their part in the problem. Being polite about it is important, too.
Two, teach your child to take charge of their health. You have probably heard of the "freshman 15," or perhaps experienced it yourself. Many freshmen get a major taste of freedom in college and make poor dietary choices — gaining 15 kilos, or more, a lot of unnecessary weight during their first semester in college.
They don't have their parents preparing and serving them balanced meals anymore. Between the meal card and the access to alcohol, students can quickly spiral.
Very few of our students utilise the university fitness centre, which leads to not only weight gain, but a lot more stress. There are numerous students with anxiety meltdowns, especially during their first year of college. Many of them are prompted to seek assistance from the university's mental health service centre. Though we are grateful that the mental health centre is able to help our students, their parents should have taught them these lessons prior to sending them to college.
Three, teach them how to manage money. Many students rack up debt - and quickly. The taste of college freedom can feel euphoric, and students don't always make the best financial decisions; they are too busy having fun.
While your child is living at home, help them learn to budget their funds. Encourage them to keep track of their money, and show them what to do if they find themselves spiralling. They should ask for help before they are in a pit of debt. Making sure they have opportunities to earn their own money is also important – because they treat money differently when they realise how hard it is to earn.
College students will inevitably make mistakes, which is part of their learning journey. However, you help your children far more by letting them fumble now instead of when society starts considering them adults.
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