I've written previously in this column that every college freshman has mental health needs. While your role as a parent is changing during this period, too, it isn't ending. There are crucial steps you should take to help ensure the transition to college is a healthy one for your student.
There is an enormous amount of upheaval students face at this moment of their lives. They are transitioning from childhood to adulthood, and often from family and home community to a college campus. This brings an almost unending amount of changes to the daily reality of teens, from responsibilities for self-care, to navigating nearly unfettered access to drugs and alcohol, to balancing a desire for independence with new stress levels. For most students, all of this is happening on campuses with no structured adult mentorship, where they are surrounded by peers struggling with the same challenges. That's a heavy load, even for responsible, high-achieving students.
Here are key steps you can take to help prepare your student for the challenges ahead:
For more information about making the college transition a healthy process, check out the Jed Foundation's Set To Go website. There, parents, students, and educators will find excellent resources to further prepare for the transition to come.