Rules for sending your crew to college

When you pack up the car and head off to the hallowed halls of college, it’s a far different world from when you kissed your baby goodbye outside the kindergarten classroom. As a parent, sending a child off to college is a huge accomplishment that should be recognized as its own important stage of life. With the “dangers” of co-ed dormitories, late night parties, and professors with high standards, you’ll cross your fingers and hope your son or daughter has everything they need to be successful during their four (or 5-6 years) of undergraduate education.

We’ve put together a list of rules you should be aware of when your baby packs up their bags and heads to campus for the first time.

Rule 1: Your child is officially an adult

Unless your child has a birthday at the beginning of the school year, you’ve most likely said goodbye to an 18-year-old adult. This means that no matter how much you love and want to protect your baby, he or she is legally, and in the eyes of the university, an adult.

As an adult and full member of society, your son or daughter is now completely responsible for their relationship with the financial aid office, scholarship department, and any grades they receive in class. When you receive a notice that ‘someone’ accidentally charged a 90 minute massage at the health center to their student account, there is nothing you can do, even if the charge is a mistake. The financial aid department will not talk to you. 

When grades are released and the week long flu that resulted in a missed exam has dropped them from a B to a D, the professor will not talk to you. 

Managing finances, grades, and responsibilities are an important part of growing up, and universities struggle with the barrage of parental phone calls and letters that they are legally unable to respond to. If something has gone awry, talk with your child, and coach them on how to solve the problem on their own.

Rule 2: Your Child Is Going to Make Bad Choices

Bad relationships, poor decisions, and too much of a good thing are all lessons that have to be learned as you grow up. Think back to your own time in college and ask if your parents would have fully approved of all the decisions you made. You survived, and those lessons have benefitted you in ways you couldn’t have imagined at the time.

Before heading off to campus make sure your child understands the warning signs of alcohol poisoning, how to call for a ride home, and know that it’s always ok to ask for help.

If the week long flu from our first example is actually a week long bender on natty light, refer back to Rule #1 and remember that the best thing you can do is email over your patented hangover recipe and hope for the best. 

Rule 3: Be available, but not clingy

Leaving the nest is hard! Offering to do laundry every weekend just to get your child home will more likely result in a 24 year old that still doesn’t know how to wash delicates than a fun weekend at home. Instead, offer to join them at a day football game and take their roommates out to brunch. If the laundry is really that big of a challenge, drop off a roll of quarters at the end of the day and they’ll eventually get the hint. 

Rule 4: Remember they still need you

It’s hard to imagine that your little girl in pigtails or little boy riding his bike for the first time will ever be truly independent. College is a time when kids can spread their wings and parents can be proud of seeing how far they’ve come. No matter how stubborn and grown-up they appear, you’ll still be the first person they want to call when they are selected for the elite internship or get elected to student body president.

Try not to be sad about what they don’t need you to do, when you can instead celebrate what they can accomplish on their own. 

Looking for more ways you can connect with your older child? Read our post on closing the teen-parent communication gap.

Photo Credit: Pexels, Unsplash, JordanMit09

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Anne Murlowski

Annie is a lifestyle blogger from the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains. She lives just outside Denver with her husband Drew and their Corgi Rogue. Offline she works as a marketing manager specializing in digital marketing and social media. You can find Annie, and her passion for all things Colorado, DIY, Cooking and Decor at RockyMtnBliss. or on Twitter at @RockyMtnBliss.

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