College students are dropping out at alarming rates. Therapists and counselors are overwhelmed with the demand for mental health care and are struggling greatly to keep up. Parents are having the toughest discussions ever imagined with their students over winter break. Those discussions revolve around suicide and depression. Unfortunately, these topics are front and center for today’s college students. So how do you have those conversations?
Make Time to Decompress
First, make sure your college student has had some time to decompress. Finals took their toll. Students are tired, burned out, and hungry. Try spending some time doing fun family activities with no mention of school or grades.
Be Open for Discussion
Secondly, look for natural discussion opportunities. Let them come up organically. Try to listen without judgment. Let your student get everything out while you listen without so much as an eye roll. If a natural discussion is not emerging, set aside a time and place to talk. Again, focus on listening.
Focus on Solutions
Lastly, focus on solutions. It took courage for your child to be honest with you. Try to keep your expectations in check. The last two years have presented many unique challenges for students. Put together an action plan to tackle the problems your student is having. Find and discuss resources together. Remember you are speaking with an adult. Let them be part of this process. If professional help is needed, don’t wait. If you are seeing serious signs of depression or suicide, please act quickly.
Remember, there is no “right” way to “do college”. Sometimes changes need to be made. Maybe your student needs a smaller school, or possibly Community College is a better place for them to start. Be open and loving with your student. Set realistic goals and come to an agreement on expectations. Be mindful of the unique challenges all students are facing right now. Most importantly, remember this is THEIR unique journey.
About Lori Kurowski
Lori Kurowski is the mom of two college graduates and resides in Anthem Arizona. She is an Arizona State Certified Educator of 30 years and runs ASU MOMS, a Facebook group of nearly 7K college moms. She enjoys time with her family, photographing Arizona sunsets, and time in her Jeep exploring. Lori can be reached on Twitter @ASUMOMS.
To see more, view all posts by Lori Kurowski here.