Worried About My Child!
(A "Must Read" Article for Parents)
Melissa A. Giles, former Associate Director for
Having a child living away from home can be stressful
for some parents. Many worried thoughts may be
tumbling through your head; "will my son
eat right?" "will my daughter get enough
sleep?," "will my daughter go to class?,"
"will my son's roommate be a good one?,"
"I'm spending so much money!"; Please
be assured that many parents worry about these
issues when a child goes away to college. It's
OK to worry.
If you'll indulge me in some reflection for a
moment... Recall, if you can, a time when you
experienced a difficult period in your life. What
was that time? Were there people around to make
the problem disappear? Probably not. Were there
people around to assist you in working through
the problem and/or to be a support to you while
you got through the problem on your own? Probably.
How did you resolve the problem? Did you learn
anything from the experience? Probably. Are you
a better person for having struggled through the
difficult time and for having gotten through it
on your own? Probably.
Your child will experience some trying times
while she/he is away at college. The difficulty
may be with classes, it may be with managing money,
it may be with roommates, or it may be another
problem. I can recall many times when I have had
the inclination to attempt to protect the people
I care about from painful experiences. However,
over time I've come to realize that I can't protect
people from trying times and experiences for their
whole lives. Firstly, because it's just not possible.
Secondly, because I know that I've learned a great
deal from making it through some difficult times
on my own. One of the ways in which people grow
and develop is through navigating difficulties
and persevering over those difficulties on their
own. It is important to remember that college
is a time for your student to grow and develop
and that with growth and development comes some
challenges that your student must face on his
or her own with a supportive ear and/or shoulder
from an adult who cares about her/him.
When your student calls or comes home and describes
a problem to you, try first to listen reflectively.
This means that you should let your student talk
about the problem and try to paraphrase what you
are hearing and pick-up on feelings that she/he
is having about the issue. This will help your
student to reflect on the issue and will help
him/her to feel that they have a listening ear.
Even if you know how you would solve the problem
or even if you think that one phone call from
you would clear it up, it's important to help
your student come up with some possible solutions
on her/his own and to try out those solutions,
sometimes even if you know that the solution your
student has chosen won't work.
student is having problems you should also know
that there are residential community staff members
and other university staff and faculty members
that are here for support as well. In the residential
communities there are staff members called Resident
Assistants (RAs) who are also undergraduate students
and who are specially trained to assist students
in working through their difficult times and who
also know a great deal about Wright State's resources.
In the campus apartment communities the very same
staff members Resident Assistants. There are also
several professional staff members that your student
could go to for assistance called Community Directors
or Community Coordinators who are a third type
of staff member, who are Master's Degree holding
professionals, that your student could go to for
Good luck in your adjustment to this new phase
of your child's life and remember, it's OK to
worry. Just know that through navigating her/his
own difficulties, your student is more likely
to become a mature, well-adjusted adult!