That time of year is approaching when kids go back to school. The biggest adjustment is made by the young men and women going off to college the first time, for their freshman year.
Making the transition to college is a big one. It encompasses all the stressful adjustments eventually faced in adult life--being responsible for their own scheduling, social life, health habits, and development. But at the same time those realities hit them, college kids start out in an emotionally fragile state, missing their old friends, old haunts, and the comforting knowledge that a parent is in the next room and available when things get tough.
Many freshmen go through a period of loneliness. For some, it can worsen into reactive depression that can be spotted by such symptoms as loss of appetite, lethargy, weight loss, inability to concentrate, and insomnia.
But most college freshmen make the transition quite well. Here's how you, the parent, can help your college freshman with the inevitable feelings of loneliness and insecurity during the first weeks away.
Actually, for many moms and dads, their anxiety attacks are more intense than their son's or daughter's. Relax. That kind of anxiety and worry is perfectly normal, and you'll only feel worse by questioning your own feelings.
What could be more natural than to worry about sons or daughters after eighteen years of being in direct contact with them and being in control of their lives, more or less? They leave for college and, for the first time, are completely on their own. They are finding new friends without parental censoring and monitoring, riding in cars driven by someone you don't know, and being introduced to new lifestyles.
The important thing to remember that is you've done your job during the first eighteen years and have given your child a solid sense of self-worth and responsible citizenship. Chances are, your worries are unfounded. Your child will make decisions based upon the foundations you've given him or her.
But it's very important for your college freshman to know that if he or she should happen to make a wrong or foolish decision, no one at home is going to greet the tearful phone call with "I told you so" or reprimands. As long as a college student knows he or she can turn to a parent or parents at home when things get tough, and not face harsh judgments, chances are your freshman will roll smoothly through the first year...and so will the anxious mom and dad.
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This blog aims to present psychiatric/psychological information to a general readership, offering insights into a variety of emotional disorders, as well as social issues that affect our emotional well-being. It includes the ideas and opinions of Dr. London and other leading experts. This blog does not provide psychotherapy or personal advice, which should only be done by a mental health care professional during a personal evaluation.