Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

For Parents

Advice for Parents

Families will face the time when their student recognizes that they will soon be departing for college - freedom, responsibility, independence - and family members must let go. The departure is a significant milestone in the life of a family and ushers in a time of separation and transition, requiring an adjustment on the part of parents, the college bound student, and the whole family. How does everyone cope with this transition?

“One of the most difficult parts of being the parent of a college student is observing from afar as your child makes the often bumpy transition from dependence to independence. After years of being a responsible, caring, and ‘in control’ parent, this change can be frightening, rewarding, and nerve-racking — sometimes all in the same week!” —

Don’t Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Guide to the College Years, by Helen E. Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller, St. Martin’s, 2000.

Like you, Southwestern has deep and broad aspirations for your student. For the next four years, University faculty and staff want to partner with you on how to “coach” your student into making this educational experience a successful one of her/his own. Staff from academic life, student life and parent relations encourage your participation in this interactive session, based on materials you will receive during the summer, so that together we can create a shared vision of what it means to graduate from Southwestern as a self-sufficient adult capable of making a difference in the world.

In the meantime, we recommend picking up one or more of the following resources as you begin your summer with your recent high school graduate. The resources below address relationship changes, anticipated concerns and more!

  • Letting Go: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years, by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger, Perennial Books, 2003.
  • When Your Kid Goes to College: A Parent’s Survival Guide, by Carol Barkin, Avon Books, 1999.
  • You’re On Your Own (But I’m Here if You Need Me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years, by Majorie Savage, 2003.