Parent Posts

How will your parenting role change?

By Lucy Ewing

The ever-shifting nature of the parent’s role is never more obvious than when a son or daughter enters college. We don’t reinvent ourselves overnight, and the process isn’t always smooth, but usually the new dynamic is mutually positive.

Like this? Get timely and helpful tips in your inbox each week!
High School Parent | College Parent

Our students appreciate the chance to be independent; we learn to take the back seat and admire the transformation. Both parents and students find that relationships can become stronger during the college years.

You might notice the change playing out during the weekly telephone or Skype chat (initiated by the student — remember, we’re striving to provide more space). Parents begin to receive more than they give.

“Instead of leading him, I let my son take the CEO role while I’m more like a member of the board of directors,” one parent said. “I gradually moved away from being a caretaker with lots of advice to being a listener,” another agreed.

In high school, our students may have felt as if most of their interactions with us were characterized by power struggles and interrogations. Now, as we invite them to direct the dialogue, that perception disappears. “I confided in my mother much more once I started college,” one student recalled. “It’s more like my parents and I are having a conversation than that they’re trying to steer me one way or the other,” another said, with appreciation.

story-icon-bar-convo-3“I confided in my mother much more once I started college,” one student recalled.

Situations will still arise where parents and students revert to earlier roles. When dealing with difficult roommates, unresponsive landlords, and serious breakups, students often seek out their parents’ expertise and intuition.

“Sometimes the roles can switch back in a period of stress, when you need your parent to still be the parent. It’s all about flexibility, with the student transitioning into adulthood and the parent being okay dealing with the swings,” a student observed.

Another student agreed: “I want my parents to be confident in my decision-making skills, and give me space for self discovery, but I still need them to be in-the-know in case of an emergency.”

It’s a balancing act…and also a matter of letting go. In college, my son and daughter learned they can do things for themselves that I probably was too involved with throughout their earlier years.

A friend, who is the parent of three college students, summed it up: “College is an incredibly maturing time for children and for parents. It’s time for parents to step back and not need to know everything that’s going on in their students’ lives. The kids need to be responsible for themselves…so down the road they can learn how to be responsible for others.”

Did you enjoy reading this article? Sign up for UniversityParent’s weekly eNewsletter and purchase the Guide to Supporting Your Student’s Freshman Year for additional tips, insight, and to help your college student succeed. You may also add to the discussion and get feedback from fellow college parents by joining our Community Forum and College Parents’ Facebook group.

School Information

Housing, hotels,
important dates, and more.

Recent Articles
RSS What’s Trending
First Job Search Tips

Log In

or

Log In to Favorite articles and Post listings

Enter College Name to See Local Results

Log In

Contact Us

Forgot your password?

Your new password has been sent to your email!

Logout Successful!

Find Your School

You just missed it! This listing has been filled.

Post your own housing listing on Uloop and have students reach out to you!

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
OR
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Please enter First Name Please enter Last Name Please enter Phone
Please enter Email
Please enter Message

By clicking this button,
you agree to the terms of use

Please enter Email

By clicking "Create Alert" I agree to the Uloop Terms of Use.

Image not available.

Success, your registration has been submitted

An email has been sent to you with a link to verify your registration
Image not available.
By clicking Get Started or Sign In you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service

Get our newsletter

Email Submitted

Weekly Tips to Help Your Student Succeed