WHEN YOUR COLLEGE FRESHMAN WANTS TO COME HOME
Do you have a college student who is asking to come home from college already? Are they telling you that they do not get along with their roommate, or that they are lonely? It is very common for your student to experience difficulty in adjusting to this transition. This can happen whether they are across the country or in the same state. I remember my youngest coming home every weekend for about a month. It was really important for us to encourage her to stay in school and at the same time listen to her concerns without trying to fix anything for her.
Remember, there is a lot of uncertainty when they leave for school. They are not in their normal environment and are trying to adjust to smaller living quarters, a roommate, making new friends and trying to fit in. What was once familiar no longer is. The peer pressure to engage in parties, etc. can become issues.
Transition stress is a normal part of college life
It’s important to recognize that transition stress is a normal part of college life. They have academic and personal responsibilities. Suddenly they are responsible for their homework assignments and getting themselves up and getting to class. This is much harder for students who have been dependent on their parents while home. Taking ownership for their schedule and managing their time appropriately now falls on them.
It’s important that we validate our student’s feelings and listen to what is happening to them. This does not mean we have to “fix” their problem. As parents we need to refrain from jumping in too quickly and rescuing. On the other hand, if you think your child is in any type of danger and/or has had mental health challenges in the past, dismissing their cry for help is not advised. You know your child best; therefore, if you believe there are reasons to be concerned, definitely reach out and either make a visit or allow them to come home for a bit. Otherwise, being supportive by listening to their concerns and validating how they feel is probably all they need, not coming home.
What to consider when your student wants to come home
A few things to consider when your homesick college student wants to come home:
Offer support by listening and validating their feelings
Do not allow too many trips home
Encourage them to get involved on campus
Try not to “fix” it for them
Keep home visits minimal
It is very difficult as parents to sit back and watch our children in pain and or feeling homesick and lonely. It sometimes is harder on us than on them. Try to refrain from jumping in too quickly. It’s a new experience for them and you; therefore, allow some time to process the new normal. In a short time they will be well acclimated to their new environment and you will be onto your next phase.
At The Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, New Jersey, we have a team of licensed professionals available day, evening and weekend hours. Visit us at www.hellenictherapy.com or call us at 908-322-0112.