If you read my three-part blog on what I learned from my sons’s college orientation, then you remember I addressed managing expectations. This is exactly what I want to chat about today. However, for this newsletter, I wanted to focus on just one:
The expectation around communication with your college student.
Please understand that your college student is in a new environment trying to figure out his or her new normal just as we are, so it’s possible they may fall short in the communication area. I’m speaking from my heart and from my own personal experience. I’m not going to try to tell you what to do, as you know your child best, however, I’m just asking that you consider that he or she is running, doing and trying to figure things out and it’s easy for the days to slip away.
Here’s what I believe are the three concerns moms and dads have with respect to how and when their college-bound kid communicate.
Concerns Parents Have with How and When Their College Student Communicates
1. Your College Student Doesn’t Call You
I discovered that the first month is the hardest. I want to speak with my son every day. I want to know how classes are going, does he like his professors, who is he eating his meals with etc. So what I do when the overwhelming need to hear from my Freshman Son hits, I send a simple text! I don’t bombard him with texts, just a simple question or statement. I usually get a reply. Even if it’s a short reply, I feel better.
Here is an example:
If they’ve really fallen off the communication radar, here’s a sales strategy I use in my others business. Don’t ask when they can have a phone call, rather offer an either or choice.
Example: Text something like, “Hi Dan, When would be a good time for you to have a phone call, later tonight or tomorrow afternoon?” When you get a reply, and you will, you can lock in the exact time. Mission accomplished!
2.Your College Student Calls You Too Much
Yes, this can happen. Especially if you work, or have other obligations where their calls are a constant interruption. My #1 Strategy for this scenario is to text my son or daughter that I am unable to talk at the moment, and then offer an either or time again. I always get a response and the best part is we have a designated time that works for both of us which allows me to be fully present on the phone to enjoy our conversation without any distractions.
3. Your College Student Calls You with a Problem
Ugh! The dreaded distress call, which can be one or more of the following:
- Roommate issues.
- Class issues.
- Professor issues.
- Homesickness issues.
Here’s the biggest problem for mom with these calls-you’re not there! It’s difficult for you to solve your college student’s problems, issues or stresses from far away. However, you’re never too far away to help, listen and guide them to the proper people located on campus who are ready willing and trained to support them. Here are my three steps for handling the distress call:
Step 1: Don’t react. Don’t go for the fix. Just listen
Step 2: Before they launch into their full blown rant, ask if they’re calling to vent or would they like your thoughts/opinions after explaining the situation or what is bothering them. I have found that sometimes my daughter just needed a safe and neutral person(mom) to let it all out to. If they do what your help or advice, proceed to step 3.
Step 3: If your college student tells you they need or want your help, listen and then ASK QUESTIONS! Get clarification as to exactly what’s going on and ask this question after they stop talking, ” Ok, what else?” and then, “Anything else?” Once you feel they’ve told you everything, a great next question could be one or both of these:
“What would you like to have or see happen?” Who there, do you think could help? These are very powerful and important questions, because many times they come up with their own solutions. You’re helping your child solve his or her problem and empowering them at the same time.
Support Your College Kids but Take Care of You Too
This is an emotional time for all. So for you, the mom, I would like to suggest you start to turn your focus on you. It’s probably been a while, but it’s your time now.
One of my favorite quotes is:
“Your child’s life will be filled with fresh experiences. It’s good if yours is as well.” -Dr. Margaret Rutherford
Where do you start? Simple, the same way you start helping your kids, by asking questions. Here’s one to begin with:
- What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn or do that you have been putting aside so you can be that amazing mom you have been?
If you’re feeling a bit stuck and aren’t sure how to answer this question, let’s chat. Schedule a 30-minute complimentary MOM TO MOM chat. Also, join my Facebook group of moms just like you. Let’s start you on the road to writing your new story.
What tips do you have for when you college student calls or not? Let me know in the comments.