Discussions to Have When Your Teen is Going To College
I wish every parent knew how impactful one-on-one conversations between parents and a teenage child can be. Even if you fear coming off as preachy, there are a few topics that need to be addressed when your teen is going to college. Parents do have the power, to make a considerable impact on what kind of person their child turns out to be, later on in life.
It is easy to get distracted with humongous tasks, like shopping and packing for your child, lining up. But do have these discussions, you’ll be really thankful later.
About Alcohol and Drugs as Your Teen is Going To College
Whether you like it or not, your child is going to do what’s on her mind. Instead of being overbearing, have a frank discussion with proper reasoning about choices. Explain how irresponsible drinking can turn out to be a disaster. Talk to them in a matter of fact tone, elaborating how beer pong and binge drinking can be fatal. Try teaching them that keeping one’s own safety at stake can never be ‘cool’. Overall, show your child that you have confidence in them, their choices and their individuality. Confident teens usually do not give in to peer pressure. One of the biggest challenges, for parents, is to make their kids understand that ‘experimenting’ with drugs can be worse than they ever expect it to be. From their life to career, everything is at stake once that ‘one’ experimental try turns into a habit.
Another crucial matter to be discussed in the same vein is: prioritizing safety. Your kids should know how valuable they are and their safety means the world to you. Tell them to step out immediately, if they ever find themselves in a car being driven by someone under the effects of alcohol or drug. Set up an Uber account for them and tell them you would pay, if they ever have qualms over-reaching home safely. Safety should always come first.
About Love and Relationship
This is one of the most important topics to talk about with your child before sending him/ her over to college. Teen hormones will play up their magic and your child will have a crush, relationship(s) and may find love in college. However protective you may be of your child, you can never be a hundred percent shield against heartbreaks. Teach them healthy ways to process grief, sadness, and other such negative emotions. Tell them how this too shall pass. Heartbreaks can be detrimental to health, especially in the case of teenagers who are sensitive and/or unable to cope up with negative emotions in a more natural and healthy way.
If you have a girl, talk to her about being confident in her own skin and trusting her instincts. Being in a romantic relationship should never mean trusting the person with her safety too. Have frank discussions over gas-lighting, recognizing abuse (mental and physical) and standing against it. Confidence, courage ,and integrity are the three most powerful weapons a women has against predators.
If you have a son, talk to them about consent and how absence of a NO doesn’t mean yes. Teach them that inebriated consent is never real consent and being a gentleman will never be out of style.
I might raise a few eyebrows with this point, but it’s worth discussing. Like it or not, teenagers have easy access to pornography and in fact, it may be their first introduction to sex. It is really necessary to make sure your child understands that it is not a realistic depiction of healthy sex. The majority of pornography is male-centric and heavily studded with verbal and physical violence against women. If your child starts considering everything shown in porn to be real, high chances they won’t have normal and healthy expectations. This could spell disaster for them in a real relationship.
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As a parent, nobody wants to think about emergencies like accident and sickness. But it would be a lot better in the long run, if you prepare your child about it. Make sure they are well versed with first aid response in case of emergencies. Talk to them about the importance of managing stress, having peaceful sleep, addressing mental health and healthy eating. These are the discussions often ignored but have a considerable impact on the overall well-being of your child. Being over-stressed, having irregular sleep patterns and harboring unrealistic expectations can lead to an array of problems, including depression. Sit and sort this all out with them.
Have a clear cut discussion over who will pay for what as your teen is going to college, their spending limit each month (in case you decide to hand over credit card), what if they overspend and finally, how to budget money. Make it clear to your child, a college education is a privilege that not all get. Hence, he must utilize it judiciously. Your child should be aware of how much each semester costs and how hard you have worked to be able to pay for each class. The next time he decides to skip a class, he is wasting your hard earned money. Your child needs to know all this.
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Though the last point but definitely not the least. Instill confidence in your child by telling them how proud you feel for being their parent. Let them know, you deeply care about their happiness. Though you may be far geographically, you’ll be there to support whenever required. A heart to heart discussion about their expectations, fears and hopes will build an unbreakable bond between the two of you. Knowing they have loving parents to fall back on instills an altogether different kind of confidence in them. With this confidence and your support, they can win any battle in life, indeed!
Did you have any discussions before teen is going to college? Let us know in the comments!
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