The Talk You Must Have Before Your Child Goes to College
Like most college-bound students, your child probably spent less time at home with you and more time at work or with friends.
You, on the other hand, took care of stockpiling all the items your kid needs for dorm life. Now you’re standing in the car, ticking off the box on your list as every comfort of home gets stuffed into the vehicle.
Before you close the door and say goodbye as your child goes to colleges, you must have The Talk.
You can encapsulate this talk into two main categories: health and safety.
Health and wellness
The reason it’s called the “freshman 15” is because of the convenience of eating at the dining hall or dragging snacks back to your room or apartment. Late-night binges while studying, endless amounts or pizza, and lack of sleep can add pounds quickly.
Talk with your child about the importance of eating right and maintaining healthy habits while away from home, including:
- Portion control
- Snacks that are less likely to spike sugar and cholesterol levels
- Alcohol and drugs
- Alternate ways of dealing with stress
Other health issues include emotional and mental well-being. Poor mental health can interfere with attendance, socialization, and even self-care. Nearly one-third of college students report being depressed, and more than half of them have felt anxiety. The National College Health Association has noted a correlation between flagging mental health and suicide rates.
Talk with your child about the warnings signs of mental health issues:
- Changes in eating or sleeping habits.
- A reduction in social activities (online and in person)
- Loss of interest
- Change in attitude
- Being afraid or confused.
Haven’t had the talk yet? It’s probably a little late in coming if you’ve waited until now.
Experts recommend that you set aside a considerable amount of time to talk about consensual and involuntary sex. College-age children need to understand the seriousness of the legal, moral, and emotional consequences arising from having sex. They also need to understand the biology of sex – and pregnancy.
Talk with your child about all facets of having sex, including:
- How reproduction works
- Feelings surrounding sex
- How to stay safe on a date
- Emotional and physical consequences of casual sex
- What to do if you are a victim of assault or rape
- The importance of saying “no” and accepting it as the final answer
- How to stay safe by using the buddy system
You’ll still want to talk about attending class regularly and getting good grades, coming home for the holidays, and visualizing graduation. Assure your college-bound child that he or she can call home no matter what or when.
Your child is as ready as possible to begin the next important part of growing up.