They grow up so fast. One minute you’re crying outside of the daycare dreading having to go back to work and the next you’re watching them walk across the stage to receive their high school diploma. As you know, college is an entirely different atmosphere than any other school they’ve been in. They don’t have the supervision of their parents, they’re responsible for everything, and they’re still trying to figure out who they are. If you want to help your teen survive the next four years, you should have a conversation with them about what to expect.
If your teen hasn’t already started dating, chances are they will once they get to college. Though dating is essentially how you find your soulmate, the wrong choice in a partner can be a serious distraction. Talk with your child about the importance of learning who people are before getting romantically involved, setting boundaries, and more importantly, how to remain safe. Even if you’ve had the birds and the bees talk in high school, it can’t hurt to reiterate your concerns.
To believe that peer pressure would stop in high school would be insane. Now that they’re in college and away from all adult supervision, they’re likely to push the envelope just a little bit further to fit in and discover themselves. Although you probably had your fair share of wild nights and crazy days, you still want your child to play it safe. Discuss the importance of having your own values and opinions, being self-confident, and avoiding reckless behavior like abusing drugs or alcohol. Don’t be afraid to delve deep into the subject either. You can discuss statistics, talk about places to go for help as a college counselor or prescription drug rehab, and describe the outcome of engaging in reckless behaviors.
Unless you want to be used as an ATM machine the next four years it is imperative that you teach your college-bound teen about finances. If you have a savings set up for them, give them an allowance. Show them how to properly budget their funds to last until their next payment. You can even show them how to make money as a college student to increase their monthly income. Talk about applying for credit cards and how to use them responsibly to avoid going into debt.
Above all else, your teenager needs to be a responsible young adult. When they head off to college the professors and staff set high expectations and expect the students to meet them. Make your child aware of the many responsibilities they’ll have and give them advice on how to stay on top of it all.
Talking to your college-bound teen about these subject matters might take some persuading and at times it may even get awkward. However, it is imperative that you try as best you can to prepare them for the road ahead of them. Unfortunately, you’re no longer going to be right there to take over and resolve the matter. It’s hard to see them go, but at least you know when they do, they’ll have the foundation they need to succeed.