Supplement to “Freshman Tips”
Margaret Norman has two children in college: Brendan, who is a senior, and Sarah, a freshman who offered advice in our magazine article. Here are some tips from a parent who has been there—twice—with this caveat: “I’ve been a parent long enough to know better than to give parenting advice, because kids and situations are all different. I can only tell you what’s working for us. I’m thrilled that Sarah’s off to such a great start.”
- Let kids make their own decisions. You won’t always agree with all of their decisions, but they need to make their own mistakes and celebrate their own successes.
- Keep your sense of humor. Your freshman is going to come home thinking he knows everything about everything. As a parent, it’s easy to get your feelings hurt, but instead, be proud of him for having his own opinions.
- Let them try on different perspectives. One year she may feel strongly one way, and the next year she may have a totally different view. Remember that freshmen are in the process of figuring out who they are.
- Keep plenty of food in refrigerator when they come home, including their favorites.
- Find a balance on how much to talk with your kids. Stay in touch without being intrusive. This may be different with each child.
- Send packages. They love homemade goodies but prefer money to packaged foods. “Instead of buying $10 of groceries that cost me $8 to mail, I now just write a note and enclose $15,” she says.
- Be prepared to be an advocate if you need to, but first listen to your kids and respect their views.
- Treat them like adults.
To read the Kentucky Living February 2006 feature that goes along with this supplement, click here: Freshman Tips