Managing our expectations around three key areas can help prevent worry and stress not only for parents but for our kids as well.
Here are the three areas that were discussed at University of Alabama’s parent orientation.
- What are your expectations for how often you would like to hear from your son or daughter? What is your expectation for how they will communicate with you; text, email, phone call, Skype or FaceTime? The expectation for communicating during the first weeks of school may need some adjusting as everyone gets used to this new normal. A suggestion: if you are not hearing from your son or daughter as much as you would like ask them about their schedule. What do they do each day? What have they been filling their time with in between classes? Just from having a daughter away for the past three years, I can tell you that some of our kids will have very full days. Most of the time I hear from Ellie when she is walking to or from a class. So If I could make a suggestion? Before you assume your son or daughter is ignoring you, ask some questions about what their daily/weekly life on campus is like for them. I believe you will find they are doing some amazing, fun things and not avoiding you!
- What do you expect your child to pay for and what are you willing to pay for? Food is a big one under money for most. Maximizing the meal plan versus dining out at restaurants not included in the meal plan is one conversation you may want to have. Purchasing items from the college stores, like tee shirts, sweatpants etc. Do you expect them to work or not work?
- Be specific about what the school’s expectations are with GPA, because if your child has a scholarship he or she could lose it if a certain minimum GPA is not achieved. Then there are your expectations around GPA, attending classes, internships, co-ops etc. Be clear that your expectations are to be taken seriously. You know the quote: “don’t let you minimum be your maximum.” So although there is a minimum GPA set by the school, be clear about what your expectations are as their parents.
- The University of Alabama had the director of the Career Center speak to us. She was amazing. She asked us to strongly encourage our kids to visit the career center and sit with a career counselor, regardless of whether or not they know what they want to do. The reason being is they, through a simple conversation, may be able to offer a student additional resources or suggestions to enhance the major they have chosen. For those who are unsure if they have chosen the “right” major or not sure what major to choose, they can offer guidance and direction.
This one statement, at the end of her presentation hit a nerve for me personally:
“Even if your child does not know what they want to ask, encourage them to come in anyway. We know how to begin a conversation and will figure it out with them.”
I wish I had someone who encouraged me to do just that when I was in college. I ended up in a career that was perfect for me, however, the four-year journey in college to get there was painful, and it did not have to be. So encourage your son or daughter to get to know the people in the career center, it can make a difference.
A friendly reminder. Remember that our expectations and our sons and daughters expectations will not always be aligned. By asking questions about their daily and weekly routines expectations can be revisited and adjusted as needed, because the amount of communication you will desire and require that first month they are away may change as everyone becomes adjusted and comfortable with this transition. So be open to adjusting expectations so they work for everyone.
Ok friends, hit us with your comments below.
Share some of your tips, wisdom, experiences, and strategies with us, because what works for one family may not work for another and you could end up helping someone have an easier transition.
These last three newsletters have been packed with so much information to help us, as parents, equip and empower our kids as they get ready to embark on what can be the most amazing time in their lives. The tips are for us as well. As moms/parents, knowing we took action to encourage, equip, empower and to set expectations can shove that worry into the back seat so we can start enjoying our new normal at home as well.
Empty nest does not have to mean the end of something, rather it is the beginning of new and exciting opportunities for everyone.
If you would like some support around an issue you are having difficulty moving past with the nest emptying, click here and lets have a 30-minute complimentary chat, mom to mom! Isn’t it time for you to start figuring out what’s next for you.
Be sure to grab your copy of You’re On Your Own, NOW WHAT? Tips and Wisdom from Mom today! Fill it in and leave it under your son or daughters pillow on move in day.