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Letting Go: Parents & Students in Transition

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1 Letting Go: Parents & Students in Transition
Presented by the Counseling & Psychological Services of Florida Tech

2 Welcome to Florida Tech!
We are thrilled that you and your son or daughter have chosen FIT…

3 An exciting and challenging time is ahead of you
Each of you may experience bringing your child to college differently Regardless, it is a time of transition in your relationship

4 Expectations for College
What we often tell students… Freshmen are faced with so many new people, ideas, experiences, and dilemmas – and are asked to assume greater responsibility for all aspects of their lives Problems and struggles are inevitable and normal Their challenge… Your challenge… is to support them in the best ways possible

5 How to Begin Think about how seasoned adults handle change
Beginning college is a turning point… a time of change You must begin to let go on a new level

6 The Process of Letting Go
Remember this process began long ago The continuum began when your child needed everything from you, and now they need far less as they further develop independence Best advice… finding a balance!

7 The Process of Letting Go
Adding to your ambivalence is their movement toward independence along with times of retreating into anxiety and hanging on “Roomies” by David Willis …You’ll need to shift gears constantly

8 Contradictory Roles “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One is roots; the other is wings.” Hodding Carter

9 Contradictory Roles Giving roots and wings has been your job from the beginning Accepting these contradictory roles -- building closeness and fostering independence -- can be a struggle You’ll need to protect less, but may worry more To reach independence they need freedom, but with that comes responsibility College students are just BEGINNERS in this process, but they have years of wisdom behind them as well as the things that you have taught them

10 Contradictory Roles The two parts of you – rational and scared
Your child will be presented with a host of pressures that are part of the growing-up process. Remember – you made it through! Information, support, and encouragement lead to self reliance

11 Understanding what you and your child are going through can:
Help you negotiate this significant phase of your child’s life Free you to help your child become his or her best self

12 3 Major Developmental Tasks for College Students
Separation/Individuation from family and home environment Identity Formation Achieving Intimacy With Peers

13 How Do Students Reach These Developmental Goals?
Via parental guidance, example, and teaching By observing their friends and peers Through their own intuitive sense of need By trial and error

14 Separation/Individuation
Entails a physical and/or psychological separation from home (often for the first prolonged period of time) Good news is this process has in some ways been going on since toddlerhood, so you’ve had some practice

15 Separation/Individuation
Less and less reliance on mom & dad/ family for managing daily affairs “Ty Dye” from Late To Class by Randy Simpson

16 Separation/Individuation
Research indicates that college students who fail to separate enough from their parents have a much tougher time meaningfully investing in undergraduate life, and, later on functioning as independent adults in society…

17 Separation/Individuation
However, there is still an important role played by ongoing attachment with your child Emotional and financial support are necessary for your students to perform well in the collegiate environment

18 Separation/Individuation
Ideally, this process is a gradual one “Roomies” by David Willis – Dec. 15, 1998

19 Identity Formation Helps students answer the question of “who am I?”
Complex process that started years ago, but is now intensifying College years are full of critical, identity- based choices and commitments

20 Achieving Peer Intimacy
This phase tends to affect college students in a highly significant way Again, this exploration started back in puberty, but the concurrent separation from family intensifies the need Increasing reliance on getting intimacy needs met primarily through peer group (instead of family) provides your child with the tools to build relationships for the future

21 What You Can Do To Facilitate the Transition
Don’t panic Remember the good foundations you’ve given them Don’t make assumptions Listen carefully Support and encourage, but try not to hover Focus on clear communication

22 They’ll be walking across that graduation stage before you know it!
Don’t blink! They’ll be walking across that graduation stage before you know it!

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