Familiarize yourself with on-campus student support resources Encouraging your student to seek support is one of the best ways you can help them transition to adulthood. Empowering them to seek out help on their own — and sharing what you know about the support resources — shows them that you feel confident in their ability to navigate their own challenges.
Establish a routine for checking in with your student and then know that this routine will change...a lot If you want to establish a routine for checking in, ask your student what works best for their schedule. Some students check in with loved ones daily, some weekly, some even less often. Some students like to communicate over text, others over social media, and, yes, some even like to use the old-fashioned phone! This is all normal. And what works for one month or one semester might not work for the next. Be flexible and try to adapt to their schedule and mode of communication.
Try to allow your student to make their own decisions and learn from their experiences Your student is now away from home and you have less direct influence. This can be a difficult transition for a parent. You can continue to share your views and perspectives on important topics. However, it is almost guaranteed that your student will make mistakes and decisions that you disagree with. This is part of development. You should trust that your student is considering and thinking about all the values you taught them before they came to campus.
Anticipate that your student will grow and change as a person Your student will change. We can promise this. This change is natural, inevitable, and usually positive. It can also be unnerving. You may not understand these changes as they happen and you may be tempted to intervene. You can’t prevent your student from changing or growing, and resisting it may cause friction that leads to you and your student feeling less connected during this exciting time.
Know that conversations with your student won’t always be easy Now you know your student will be making a lot of their own decisions and changing a lot as a person. This can sometimes lead to difficult conversations. To help these conversations be productive, spend a lot of time listening, ask questions, and give advice sparingly. Your students will be more likely to talk to you if they feel heard, understood, and respected.
Know that support resources are here for you too Don’t worry alone. Explore the resources on this website. If you are ever worried about your student, please do not hesitate to contact the Institute. For urgent concerns outside of business hours, on weekends, and when MIT is closed, contact any of the resources that are available after hours or 24/7.