Learning to let go is no easy task. Today’s advice features Cindy Bitzer, mother of rising Rowan senior Josh (computer science) and recent Rowan graduate Lauren (marketing). Lauren interviewed her mother for this story.
The time has finally come, your student is transitioning from a high school senior to a freshman in college. They are transforming into adulthood and the time has come for them to be on their own and time for parents to learn to let go.
Parents and students need to set boundaries with one another. Parents, you will learn to treat your student as a new adult. Prevent yourself from indulging in mobile tracking apps and monitoring their every move. Failure to do so could potentially result in your student either rebelling or feel pushed under a micromanaging shadow. By constantly checking in, you’re only going to be alienating your student and depriving them from opportunities.
“When you’ve been parenting for eighteen years, you’re just so used to having your student around,” says Cindy Bitzer, mother of two Rowan Students; senior business major Lauren Bitzer and senior computer science major Josh Bitzer. “It’s okay to be concerned about your student’s grades, social life, and other aspects of the college experience, but I’ve learned to recognize that you can’t manage their whole life.”
It’s easy to want to help your students with registering for classes or attending advising appointments, but you need to allow them to make their own decisions.
“I currently reside in Cherry Hill, and with Rowan University being so close (thirty minutes away), it’s so tempting to drive down and surprise my son and daughter, but I also have to respect them and their space,” says Cindy. “During their time at Rowan, I had to resist the urge to come unannounced and learned to call and check in before making plans to visit.”
Cindy’s advice to other parents would be to let their students live their life and make their own decisions. Although it is much easier said than done, you have to learn to be okay with the decisions they make. Micromanaging your student will hamper their social development and stunt their growth into adulthood.
It’s important to remember that incoming students are adjusting to a new schedule with a new workload, new classes and new friends. Lastly, remember that your plans for your students may not be the same plans as theirs. Allow your students the freedom and creativity to design their own college experience.
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