To all of the parents out there with recent high school graduates, we get it. Seeing your child go off into the world on their own can be challenging, especially with a future uncertain as what 2020 has shown us thus far. The “new normal” everyone is adjusting to has caused many changes on UNC Charlotte’s campus; so much so, you and your student may need some help navigating their first year of college. You may not be able to be hands-on all of the time when your student is off at school. Fortunately, the Niner Nation Parent Guide is here to lend advice to parents who want to actively make sure their child has worthwhile college experiences.
Let them figure things out on their own.
As much as you may think your child wants to be left alone, best believe you are right. In fact, it is the smartest decision you can make as a parent. Checking in with your child periodically is great, but don’t be so invasive that they aren’t able to make mistakes and resolve their own problems. From joining organizations to figuring out how to wisely manage their time, students must ultimately allow the decisions they make define who they are. The truth is we all make mistakes, but holding your child’s hand through college not only takes away their decision-making ability but stunts their long-term growth.
Keep an open mind about their choices.
College is not just a place where students pursue higher education. It is only a foundation for their future passions and aspirations to bloom. With so many different paths at UNC Charlotte to choose from, students may end up coursing a completely different trail than what you expected; and that’s OK. Keeping an open mind and allowing your child to do what makes them happy will instill in them that they made the right choice. Whether they join a fraternity or sorority, club football team, or get elected to student government, cheer them on and let them know their decision is supported.
Be a listening ear (when they want you to be.)
Allowing your child to make their own decisions is crucial, but that does not mean their choice will always be the right choice. Every single college student will face some sort of adversity during their time at UNC Charlotte, so when your student comes to you about a problem they have, listen. Even if the problem seems minor, remember that checking in with you is a way for your child to release the stress they are having and builds a foundation of openness with you as a parent.
Encourage them to be themselves.
As continuously blossoming young minds, students are easily impressionable and tend to follow the crowd when it comes to what’s popular. Admittedly, it can be hard to stand apart when everyone is doing the same thing. However, the best way to distinguish themselves from the crowd and make a statement is to be themselves. Remind your student that the only real assets they have as college students are their word and their identity, and to use them to their advantage whenever possible. This will ensure that your child will have a successful academic and personal experience at UNC Charlotte.