From one nest to another

Student and her mother moving her into her residence hall

For many Skyhawks, this is their first time living away from home—away from their friends and family. It marks a big transition in many people’s lives. The staff at the Counseling Center are here to support your student, as are Student Wellness, Student Affairs, and other programs on campus.

Feel free to call our office with concerns. Please know we will not be able to confirm nor deny the student’s use of the Counseling Center, and it is rare for us to reach out to students unsolicited by them, however we will certainly work with you to determine what is best for both you and your student.

Support from home

While care packages are indeed awesome, a major source of support for students as they make the transition to college life comes in the form of conversations. If you haven’t already, try talking with your student about the following topics. If you have already, well, it’s ok to revisit the conversation.

  • How have you handled stress in the past? How can you adapt this to life at FLC?
  • Who will you talk with if you start having a hard time? (Remind them that you’re available, but who else can they turn to?)
  • If your student has had mental health treatment in the past, or is already familiar with counseling services, make sure they’re aware of the Counseling Center at FLC.
  • Remind your student about other supports on campus including faculty, advisors, coaches, residence hall assistants (RAs) and peer counseling.
  • Some families find it helpful to come up with a communication plan. How frequently do you expect to hear from your student? A weekly call? A daily text?

Parents as partners

Resource, not rescuer

Resist the urge to rescue. Problems are inevitable. Some roommates are difficult, professors can be challenging, homesickness or loneliness can be painful. But as your student works through difficulties, they grow in confidence. You can help most by being a resource, reminding your student of resources on campus to help with problems and encouraging them to consider their options and how they can work through challenges.

Cheerlead

Be a cheerleader! Because college life does bring its share of problems and challenges, your student needs to know somebody thinks they are the best. Celebrate your student’s accomplishments and remind them often of how proud you are of them.

Get clear about being in touch

Talk about phone calling. Be sure your student knows the details (limits and costs) of their cell plan. Let your student know when you are not available by phone, email, text message. Encourage them to spend in-person time with their new FLC friends, and use the phone for their back-home friends.

Phone calls in distress

Sometime in the next year you may get a 2:00 a.m. phone call in which your student is crying and saying how much this place sucks. They want you to get in the car and come immediately to take them home.

You’ve likely seen before this at home: big feelings come, and then they pass. The difference at home is that you also see them feeling okay and normal the next day. When your student is away, you may only hear them while they’re upset. Chances are you do not need to get in the car and come get them. Use the judgment you've developed over the years to listen, offer reassurance, and let them know you care.

Family happenings, not family problems

While sharing the events and happenings of family life will keep your student connected to their family, and remind them that they belong, drawing them over and over into family problems tends to be a drain on their ability to succeed as a student. This is a tricky balance to hold. Consider the impact of what you’re telling them, and look for a balance between hiding things from them, and burdening them.

Care packages show caring

It really is a joy to receive a package in the mail. It’s even a source of prestige between students to receive care packages from home. These might include your student’s favorite cookies (store-bought or homemade, whatever), food, family pictures, newspaper articles, magazines, rolls of quarters for laundry, toiletries… listen for what they might need, and even ask them what they might want.

Additional resources

FLC Family Program

Our Family Program works to keep you engaged with a newsletter and Facebook group as well as events when possible.

 

The Jed Foundation

The Jed Foundation works nationally to reduce the prevalence of emotional distress and suicide among college and university students.

 

College Parents of America

National membership association serving current and future college parents, including advocacy, discounts and informational resources.

Safely report concerns

We all need a little help sometimes. It can be hard to ask for it, or to know where to go for help. Use these tools to support students (or yourself) in finding peer connections or getting support to navigate life safely.

Student Connections

Sometimes it's hard to know where to look to find people with similar interests. Submit a referral to connect students with resources on campus.

Student Connections

Tell Someone

Let Student Affairs know if you are concerned that an FLC student or employee may be a victim of an assault, harassment or discrimination. You may choose to report anonymously.

Tell Someone

Person of concern

Report student behavior that you would like to bring to the attention of your department chair or your supervisor. For emergencies please call 911.

Person of concern