Parents have two most important turning points in their life as a parent. The first one is when their children are born and the second one is when they become adult and independent. This is especially obvious when your children are in their final year of studies at the university and you know this is the beginning of a new chapter of their life. We know the wise things to share with them and we want to support them not only as sons and daughters, but as individuals we love, respect, and care for.
So the question is what support and advice do you want them to give? Is it the “don’t wear that sweater” or “make your room clean”? Guess not. There are other bigger and life-changing things, actions and pieces of advice that can really help them go through this important and complicated step into the adult life.
What is a final year at college like?
Most parents think that a final year at the university is a sweet time waiting for your diploma which is the price for completing a long and difficult journey. And you may have a blind hope that diploma will automatically turn your student into a capable young adult. The problem is that most teens have other ideas. For them, university is a battle where you have to survive and the reward is to set themselves free from studies.
Helping your child cope with learning challenges at the university can take a great deal of energy from the both of you. However, it is essential to help your teen graduate not only with a sense of a relief from the past challenges, but also with knowledge and experience crucial for their future professional life. Let’s see how you can support your child emotionally, socially and academically.
Things you can do
Becoming an adult is like learning a new language. You make mistakes, learn words and simple sentences, and then find yourself speaking a foreign language fluently. Here are some dos and don’ts you can share with you children to help them learn in the process.
Presence of accessories can be essential when a person has to complete a task. If you have an opportunity to support your child financially and buy noise-cancelling headphones to reduce distractions at home or on campus this would be quite useful. A smartphone to keep in touch with peers and email professors and a laptop to get access to online study materials on the go can influence the quality of live as well.
There are a lot of online study resources, apps, websites, and tools that your child may require to successfully finish their last year. Websites like Grammarly or an online library are essential to improve studying results. Your young adult knows best what works and what doesn’t. Using these resources to plan and cope with big projects, organizing notes, and making outlines can help a lot.
Don’t be too critical if they fail
Let’s admit it – nobody likes to be criticized. That’s especially true for young adults. For this reason at times when they mess up, phrases like “Nobody is going to hire you” or “Your future job is a swiping the streets” are harmful. Senior year at college is difficult and stressful enough. Your child has already grown up, so treat’em right as an adult! You know that mistakes can make anyne feel frustrated. So give them the support they deserve. Remind them about their strong sides. It helps to see a bigger picture and to trust that your son or daughter is an adult even if takes more time and effort than you thought it would.
Don’t try to plan their future
If you think that you know how to build a better life for your child – you are dead wrong. While we need to give them our advice to prevent them from making life-changing mistakes, we set our expectations about their future too high make it really difficult for young people to live up to your dreams. In their final years at college, some students can get overwhelmed with things they have to do or may finally realize that their major is not something they want to connect their life with. And it is quite common, actually. Some of them can say “no”. Yes, this may shock you. You could see this as a sign of uncertain future, but it’s not. This change is a powerful sign that your child has an agile mind and willingness to broaden scope and determine what they want to do in their future. Of course, changing from a math major to medieval literature is too radical, but a certain number of students manage several majors that complement each other and make them a better specialist in the future. Becoming a young adult is making decisions parents do not always agree with. And they have the responsibility and right to do just that.
Growing up and graduating from college is not easy. Remember that your young man or lady may still need you to back them up at all times when they fail at something. When they do, don’t criticize them too much and don’t try to take full control over their life to prevent future fails. Lend them a helping hand and they will stand up and move forward. Isn’t this what all parents want for their children?
By Veronica Hunt