Helping Your College Child—From Their Point of View

Last updated on December 29th, 2023 at 02:35 am

Helping Your College Child—From Their Point of View

If you have a kid going off to college, you want to help them out, and you might have your own ideas about what they need. However, it’s important to understand that what you think is most important and what they think is most important might not align. Of course, there are certain things you need to insist on, making sure that they have safe housing. Yet their priorities may differ from yours in important ways, and it’s important to see things from their point of view as well. You might not agree to provide them with everything that they want from you, but just knowing where they are coming from can help you meet in the middle sometimes.

Funding

You may feel bad that you haven’t saved up enough money to pay for your child’s college education, but most parents haven’t. Tuition is costly and had other financial obligations and might also have been putting away money for retirement. Financial aid is available because so many families are in the same situation as yours. However, even with federal aid, scholarships and grants, your kid might still not have enough to cover the costs. This is where private loans come in. However, it can be hard to take out a loan as a student because they can rarely qualify on their own. If your child has asked you to cosign and you are worried about the financial repercussion for you, you might have said no. Your child may be wondering whether parents have tocosign on student loans, and this might be something that they really need from you.

Major and Career Plans

As you prepare your child for college you might have very strong ideas about what your child should study and the career that they should pursue. You may have very good reasons for that. You’re worried about their financial stability, or you want them to pursue something they love instead of the practical course that they don’t love. But you need to let them go their own way with this. This is particularly important if you’re basing it on your own experience because while you may feel like you have some wisdom about their path that they don’t, you probably don’t realize that at the same time, you’ve got some blind spots because of your own emotions about the path that you took. It can be hard to step back here but think about it from their point of view. How would you have or how did you react to your parents trying to control your choice of major and career path? Even if you think they were right in retrospect, that doesn’t mean it’s right for your kid, and you must let them find their own way.

Helping Your College Child—From Their Point of View

How They’re Changing

College is a time of major change for many students. They’re exposed to different and new ideas and people. When they go back home and are treated as though they were the same person that they were in high school, it can be difficult for them. They want you to show love and accept them as they are and understand that they’re growing from the person that you knew. Most likely, they want this acceptance even if it seems like all they do is turn up with a pile of dirty laundry and roll their eyes at you. Try not to stay locked into the idea of who they were as a child or even just a few years earlier. If you think back to your own college days, you can probably remember having similar feelings about your own growth as well. Keep the lines of communication open and really listen to what they’re telling you.

*collaboration

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