TIPS FOR PARENTS
- Help your student develop independence: Become a coach rather than a problem solver. Encourage your student to find and use appropriate campus resources so students can learn to advocate for themselves.
- As a family unit, discuss expectations around academics, finances, substance use, and communication. Establishing guidelines before the start of the fall semester is a great pro-active move.
- A huge part of college is campus engagement! Review the many ways your student can connect with the community, make friends, and feel at home to ease the overall transition to college.
- Talk with your student to identify strategies to handle difficult situations such as roommate conflict or substance use. Review approaches they can take to refuse or set limits around substance use. Include ways to react in high-risk situations, for example: how to seek help for a friend; how to intervene in a potentially serious situation; how to stand up for their rights in their living environment.
- Share any family history around alcohol, drug and/or mental health concerns that your student may not be aware of, this information can help guide decision making.
- Connecting with your student in multiple conversations throughout the summer is recommended.
- Lastly, and most importantly, normalize the positive AND the negative aspects of transition. They may experience excitement, independence, and/or homesickness, stress, and other challenges. Telling your student “this is the best time of your life” may not leave any room for their own personal experiences.
Transition to college is not always easy. During the first week, two weeks, month, few months, it is not uncommon for some students to call and want to come home. For most, a friendly, empathic voice and someone to listen is all that is needed. You might want to arrange, with your student, a system for calling home and keeping in touch. Some students may need a weekend home for refueling; to touch base, eat a home-cooked meal, get some sleep in his/her own bed. Some need to know that their parents will be open-minded about talking about change, perhaps after the first semester. Most young people will separate from their parents in their own way and at their own pace.
IF YOUR FIRST-YEAR STUDENT IS NOT REALLY CONNECTING WITH ANYONE.
Moving to a place where you don’t know anyone can be a little difficult and stressful for some students. Drew’s small friendly campus makes this easy for them. If they live on campus, encourage them to go to the events scheduled in their hall by our enthusiastic Residence Life staff. Clubs and student organizations are also a great way to get connected – at last count Drew has over 90 clubs. Have them check out the web page for Student Organizations or the web page for Student Activities or Campus Life.
IF YOUR STUDENT NEEDS SOMEONE TO TALK TO DURING THE NIGHT
Your child can text “Hello” to 741741 to reach the National Text Helpline at any time.
Caring Contact also offers hope and compassion through their caring & crisis hotline. All services are provided by volunteers who devote themselves to preventing suicide and other self-destructive behavior by listening actively and empathetically to people in distress, offering them emotional support without judgment. Their listeners are there for you seven days a week. Call 908.232.2880 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., per volunteer availability, the suicide lifeline 988, 24 hours a day.
If your student has Drew’s health insurance, they can call CareConnect and talk to a licensed mental health clinician any time by calling 1-888-857-5462.
If they are feeling unsafe on campus they can call Campus Security 973-408-3379 or reach out to their Community Assistant (CA).
The Residence Life Staff are trained professionals and paraprofessionals in assisting students to mediate conflict or address living concerns. your student complains (and they will), you will want to listen with a sympathetic ear and you might offer suggestions, but it would be helpful to direct them to on campus resources.
CAN I SPEAK TO MY STUDENT'S THERAPIST AT THE CENTER FOR COUNSELING AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES?
We encourage parents to communicate their concerns directly with their students rather than try to use a therapist as a go-between. If your student tells you they are seeing a counselor/therapist, without a release of information in place we cannot confirm or deny any connection with your student.
If you feel you have critical information that the counseling staff should know, or you are looking for advice on how to be more helpful to your student , you can call the Counseling Center and consult with one of our staff. The counselor will protect your students confidentiality, but can receive any information of an urgent nature.
WHAT IF I AM REALLY WORRIED ABOUT MY STUDENT?
If your student has had a sudden deterioration in functioning, has stopped communicating with anyone, or becomes irrational, reach out. If you believe your concern is urgent contact our Campus Security Office 24-hours a day at 973-408-3379. They will connect you with the on-call Residence Life Professional Staff.
- Stay in contact with your student. Family and parental support are very important. Email, Snapchat, and text-messaging are useful as a supplement to voice communications. Hearing your voice with a phone call or video call is crucial to help your child feel your presence and support.
- Don’t go behind your student’s back if there is a problem. Encourage your young adult to contact resources on campus. If you choose to contact, tell your offspring first.
- Allow your young adult to work out their own problems and schedules and make their own decisions. Suggestions can be offered and encouragement can be given, but by allowing your student the opportunity to make their own choices, you indicate to them that you believe them to be an adult who is responsible, and capable.
- It’s your thoughts that count. No matter what the problem, there is a solution or goal. Catastrophizing will do you in.
- Psychological problems are usually of a developmental and/or situational nature, which we all experience. Most are remedied with a helping ear. Some need more help sorting out than others.
- Severe psychological problems do occur and should not be ignored. There is help here, for you and for your student, if such happens.