Parents & Families

The transition from high school to college and adolescence to adulthood can sometimes be stressful for students and their parents.  Finding healthy ways to manage the various stressors you, as a parent, are facing when helping your student prepare for this transition will assist everyone in your family adjust to the changes that lie ahead.

Suggestions for Coping

Recognize and experience your emotions

It is normal for family members to feel many confusing and conflicting emotions when a child leaves home, including: sadness, guilt, relief, joy, apprehension, etc. Whatever you are feeling, there is little benefit in pretending these feelings are not there. A healthier approach is to talk about these feelings with family, friends, religious or spiritual support, or some other listener.

Keep yourself healthy

Especially during stressful times, adequate amounts of sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise can be very useful. Spending time doing things that you enjoy or discovering new interests can be an important step toward your own well-being.

What Can I Do To Help My Student?

Maintain regular communication

It is important for the students to become more independent and begin making adult decisions. However, it is also crucial for him/her to know that you are still available for support. They need you to discuss both difficult issues and normal life occurrences. Email is a great way to keep in touch, but a written message may not convey a complete picture of how your child is really doing. Try to talk on the phone occasionally, too, so you can hear how your child sounds.

Allow the student to structure some of your conversations

While it is good for you to show an interest in their classes, grades, friendships, etc., your student is more likely to ask for the help or support that they need if there is room in the conversation to do so.

Have realistic academic expectations

Adjusting to university life is a difficult transition, and this may at times be reflected in a student's academic performance. Not every "A" student in high school will be an "A" student in college. Be supportive and focus on your son or daughter's development, rather than performance, as long as they are meeting the basic academic requirements.

Know where to call if you need help

If your student does experience difficulties, encourage him or her to take advantage of the many resources available to Niagara students by emphasizing that it is not only okay, but a sign of strength, to recognize problems early and to seek assistance in handling them constructively.

Interaction with Counseling Services

If your student is involved with Counseling Services, it is important for you to understand that confidentiality is crucial to the process. We cannot provide any information to you about their treatment, except in emergencies where we are concerned for their safety. If you have information about your student you think would be helpful and wish to share it with us, we would welcome communication from you. However, as prescribed by mental health law we cannot talk about your student, even to confirm that we are in contact with your son or daughter without his/her written consent.