Orlando psychologist and therapists at GroundWork Counseling recognize that a child heading off to college is a major life transition for both the teenager as well as the entire family. Orlando psychologist and therapists emphasize that leaving for college indicates that the adolescent is now separating from his family and transitioning into adulthood. At GroundWork Counseling we understand that no matter how exciting this time might be, it may also bring up feelings of loss, depression, anxiety and concern for both children and their parents.
Congratulations, your child is now a college freshman! You’ve fretted and fussed and bought them all the necessities for their college dorm room or apartment. You’ve taken them to the dorm room/apartment, settled them in and returned home. Now what?
As you are already feeling, freshman year of college is a very important transition. It marks a major step in the life cycle of a family. For many of parents, it is the first time your child is living away from home long-term. It is a probably the first time their “home” is with non-family members, where you have no ability to monitor eating habits or study habits, and (gasp!) where there is no curfew.
Just as you are adjusting to the loss of your influence over your “child”, your college freshman is adjusting to their new independence and autonomy of being an “adult.” They are learning to manage their time by themselves, to make dietary choices away from your watchful eye, to make new friends and create a new identity for themselves. Psychologists and therapists at GroundWork Counseling stress that while the ability to self-regulate is important for students at any level, it becomes extremely important for new college students, as they experience new freedoms. Self-regulation refers to a student’s ability to plan for and attain objectives through goal-directed behavior, which often requires delaying gratification.
College students must learn to balance increased personal freedom with increased personal responsibility when it comes to:
- Time management
- Academic performance
- Personal care
- Balancing academic and social life
- Setting priorities
Our Orlando Counselors emphasize that during this time of transition, which can last 3-6 months, your support and love continue to be essential. However, this love and support will need to be expressed in a different way than before. After all, you are now dealing with a bird who lives out of the nest and has just learned to fly. Your attitude and behavior should show that you respect these changes.
Marriage and family therapist at GroundWork Counseling will share some tips to help you through this adjustment period in the next blog. Stay tuned!
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