Help Us Help Your Student…
As November approaches and the midpoint of the fall semester draws to a close, parents and students alike look forward to the break that comes with the Thanksgiving holiday. Parents eagerly await visits from their students and students are anxious to escape just briefly from the everyday routine of college life. Much anticipation surrounds this reunion but it can be a stressful time for both students and parents.
Students and parents alike can become frustrated and stressed when students return home from college. Students have become accustom to a great deal of independence. The return to rules and regulations imposed by mom and dad may cause some unantic¬ipated friction at home. Clear and direct communication about your expectations can help prevent misunderstanding. For example, be clear about the family gatherings you expect them to attend, the chores you expect them to complete, curfew (if they have one), and the parameters for being with friends.
Stress can present itself in many ways, triggering behaviors that are not consistent with a student’s usual attitude and behavior. For instance, students may become withdrawn when they were previously outgoing. Some may become angry, argumentative and/or anxious, either more frequently or as a new behavior. Students may not fully understand why their behavior has changed. As parents, you can help your students by: (1) being aware that this is a stressful time of year for students; (2) being sensitive to changes in behavior; and (3) being aware of campus resources available to assist your student. Previous newsletters have documented the many helpful services available for students. You may want to refer to them. Sometimes students are so busy managing work, studies, extra and/or co-curricular activities they forget that resources are available or how to access them.
This may be new territory for you and your student. Your student is being trained to make the transition from adolescence to adulthood by living on campus, through coursework and participation in out-of-classroom activities. This can be an unsettling time for both parents and students because of the behavior changes that occur during this time of transition. Understanding that it is part of “the rhythm of college life” can be reassuring.
Encourage your student, as a first step, to seek guidance from a trusted member of the faculty or staff who may be serving as a mentor or advocate. Utilize the Student Affairs website at http://webs.purduecal.edu/ to access resources within the department. Or refer your student to the Counseling Center where the staff of licensed counselors provide support and focus on developmental issues while encouraging students to function autonomously and independently.