The big change from high school to college.
"Some kids simply aren't ready for college -- academically, socially, or emotionally," adds psychologist Myron Friedman. "They may need another year at home before the transition, either working or taking a few courses at a community college."
How can you tell if children are ready for college? Holzband and Friedman suggest asking yourself the following questions: * Can they cope with everyday responsibilities (food, clothing, transportation) independently? * How do they handle money? Do they know how to budget? * How do they plan for a long-term assignment in high school? * Do they know how to negotiate to resolve conflict? * How do they deal with authority? * How easily are they influenced by peers? * What is their degree of involvement in the college selection process? Are they making the choices? If not, who is making those choices? * Do they have academic goals? * How comfortable are they with decision-making? * How much tolerance for frustration do they have? How accommodating and flexible are they? * How well do they handle being away from home or other transition experiences? * As they have been given more responsibility with advancing age, how have they dealt with it? * Do they admit mistakes and learn from them?
Friedman points out that the parent-child relationship is evolving constantly. "Parents bide their time during the senior year of high school. The child barely checks in for dinner twice a week and there's a sense that he's independent, already capable of handling problems on his own." That may not be the case, though. "What parents don't realize is that there's a big difference between handling problems when Mom and Dad are upstairs -- and handling them from 2,000 miles away."
That creates a dilemma for most parents. "The natural desire is to solve problems for your child, to advocate for him. It takes restraint to let a young adult work through the college bureaucracy and the new social setting by himself, but it's the only way he'll eventually make it on his own." A long-term approach -- gradually relinquishing responsibility and allowing a child the opportunity to do the things he or she will need to do when on his or her own -- makes the transition easier.
Most important, send a message that you trust your kids to solve problems on their own, but that you always are available in a pinch. There will be days, even months, when they glide through college life on a wave of confidence. There will be others when anxiety prevails. Throughout their college years, children are going to move in and out of their parents' lives. Separation is a gradual process that requires patience, acceptance, and understanding in large doses.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||advice for parents on determining whether their children are ready to make the transition to college life|
|Publication:||USA Today (Magazine)|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Aug 1, 1997|
|Previous Article:||Learning about life from the movies.|
|Next Article:||Is Louisiana sinking?|
|College isn't for everyone. (Education).|
|Easing the transition to college.|
|Bridging a successful school transition.|
|Planning ahead: 'next' publication helps high school graduates.|