Congratulations! How proud are you? Your wonderful offspring are about to start college or uni; or recommence term and you could not be more pleased. All those years of cajoling them to do their homework and gain great grades have finally paid off!
So, that’s ‘you’ as parents sorted then! How are the kids – the students feeling?
Well, you saw their faces when they learned they had been accepted for uni. You beamed at how well the first semester went last year, the first year, second or even third years. They are soooo lucky, huh!?
But is all well? Can you see the wood for the trees?
Many of us proud parents DO continue to worry and be concerned for our protégés welfare and will be diligent, keeping in touch, making ourselves accessible and ensure our brave kids know they can tell us if they are anxious about stuff or feeling low! But sometimes, just sometimes… we are so lost in our individual business of life, that we trust our kids are well, unless we hear to the contrary! Letting go is a good thing, of course, as is letting them make mistakes.
However, it is possible kids fail to let us parents know – because they would prefer us to think all is well; they wouldn’t want to disappoint, or worry, or us to think any less of them. It could also be because they and you haven’t always been the best communicators; it happens. But unlike at home, where you can see and feel ‘something’ is not quite right, when they are away it is of course less obvious.
Reports of student anxiety and depression are unfortunately growing. Helpfully, however, many parents have established communications and stay in touch; I mean really stay in touch! When trouble is sensed which may be outside of the expertise of these parents, they can make contact with people like us for advice – and to seek the next step.
They may talk with me first, and then will ask the troubled one if they will talk with me, just talk… on the phone, or by email; and almost exclusively the strength of the issues are reduced within just 2-3 calls.
Expectations are high of students, today, as much as ever. This brings much emotional turmoil and pressure; add to the mix the homesick issues, worries about finance, potential for drink, drugs, social problems and, oh yes the studies themselves! It is perhaps little wonder our students are sometimes emotionally challenged, just as we are in the workplace and home at times; it is only natural.
If you are concerned for your son or daughter’s emotional wellbeing, please do consider providing an option to engage with me or colleagues, wherever they are. I conduct sessions successfully via online contact or telephone, or if they are local to East Anglia, face-to-face. Call or write to me without obligation, and in confidence.