Parents, Families and Carers

A child leaving home for university can be a big step for families too. The following are tips for parents, families and carers. Firstly, every student and every family is different. Do what works best for your family and be prepared for some trial and error along the way.

Here are our top tips for parents sending a student off to uni:

Financial Expectations

Discuss your financial expectations with your child ahead of time. Discuss what they are expected to pay for and what you will provide monetary support for. Keep in mind there are always little unexpected costs your child could need help with.

Academic Expectations

Try not to hassle your children about why they aren’t receiving high distinctions for every assignment. Instead, discuss expectations before they leave and let them know you will support their efforts at uni. While you want them to succeed you also need them to know they can come to you if they are finding their study too challenging.

Communication Expectations

It’s important for parents and their children to be on the same page when it comes to keeping in touch. Discuss with your child how often you expect them to call or email and be prepared to be flexible about when and how often they should contact you.

Set a minimum standard of contact for your child to touch base and let you know they are okay. For some families this will be once a week and for others it might be once a month. You will know best what suits your family situation but don’t expect a call every day once your child settles into uni life.

They are Adults!

  • Do not pack for them. The Survival Guide features a great checklist of things to pack, however this is their job, not yours!
  • Make sure your child is prepared to do domestic duties such as washing and cleaning. A few lessons might be needed before they head off to uni.
  • Talk to your child about sex and substance abuse before they go to uni. Let them know they need to be responsible for their actions but that you are also available to talk if they have a problem or feel they have done something wrong.
  • They will make mistakes – let them. We all learn from mistakes, it’s an important part of growing up.
  • Build an adult relationship with your child by talking openly with them about issues and not judging their choices. Be a coach rather than someone who tries to solve all their problems for them.

The emotional Rollercoaster

You may have no trouble letting go of your child, or you may find it a grieving process. Everyone is different. Our advice is:

  • Try to keep your emotions under control. Tell them you will miss them but don’t beg them to come home every weekend.
  • Don’t forget about the impact the departure can have on the whole family. Talk to your other children, partner and other family members about the changes.
  • Celebrate this time of adventure and show your child you are happy for their newfound independence and opportunity to stand on their own two feet.
  • Homesickness is normal and your child can find help and support from counsellors, tutors, mentors, family members or friends. Encourage your child to seek professional help if the adjustment takes more than a few months or they feel like they have no one to talk to.
  • Your child is going to eat differently, sleep differently and no doubt go through quite a few changes when they move out of home. It’s all part of growing up and becoming an independent adult. Don’t tell them they’re doing it all wrong (even if you think they are). If you are concerned about their lifestyle talk to them as an adult and offer advice and support.

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