Your soon-to-be or current college student is all ready to be grown-up and have a great college experience. Mom and Dad usually aren’t quite as ready, and the thought of their little Princess walking to her dorm after her night class is just the thing to stir those parental overbearing tendencies right up! To the college students reading this – cut Mom and Dad a little slack, they’re only trying to protect you. Parents, you just want your son or daughter to understand that “real life” isn’t always the safest of places, but how do you sit them down and tell them to keep safety on the brain without that dreaded eye roll occurring?
Don’t Sit Them Down.
As a parent, you’re prone to wanting to “sit down” with your son or daughter at the dinner table, in the living room, or even in the car and start up those heavy “real life” conversations. How did that young adult in your life likely react? He or she most likely clammed up and just nodded along.
Instead, be conversational – when chatting about colleges, ask your son or daughter what kind of campus safety measures they have, or if he or she has heard any kind of negative stories about the campus.
Relate a few stories you’ve heard, such as your friend’s daughter who got her diamond tennis bracelet stolen from her dorm room, the guy who got his wallet stolen at a party while he was sleeping, etc. By “randomly” mentioning these types of campus safety tidbits over time, you’ll seem more approachable, and they won’t feel like you’re cornering them and being overbearing or too-protective.
Face It, They’re Going To Party.
Even the most scholarly of students need to let loose once in awhile. You loved to have fun at their age, and as long as it’s in moderation, your son or daughter is probably going to go to a party or two in college.
Now, if you notice it’s getting out of hand, you’ll need to step in, but as a parent, it’s important to be frank with them – note that you know they might go to a party here and there in college, and you want them to have fun, but to also keep their wits about them so they don’t do anything too embarrassing or that puts them in a harmful situation they don’t have control over – no one wants to go through the pain of a rape or having to be rushed to a hospital mid-party.
Let Them Make Mistakes.
You only want the best for your son or daughter, but they’re going to make mistakes along the way, just as you did. They might leave their dorm room door unlocked and have their iPod stolen, imbibe a little too much at a party, or find themselves walking home from class at 9pm alone.
Resist the temptation to punish your young adult when these mistakes happen – instead, consider them learning lessons, and ask your student what he or she will do going forward. Allow him or her to do most of the talking, and keep the focus on learning for the future.
Arm Them With What They Need.
College students are known for being strapped for cash. Rather than leaving it up to your son or daughter to choose legal pepper spray over a night out with friends, do the parental thing and buy it for them. Don’t force it on them – just mention you’re purchasing legal safety products for them – like pepper spray, a keychain with a flashlight and loud alarm, Glass Break Detectors for their dorm room windows, and a fun gadget that also doubles as a security camera for their room: Spy Cameras. Then, simply leave it in their room at home and allow them to explore, and when it comes to college move-in day, make sure it’s on their list ready to go!
Every once in a while we allow relevant and helpful guest posts on UniversityDude.com. This is a guest post by SpyTown that offers helpful parenting advice to those who have college age children going to school. If you would like to write a guest post, you may contact us with your topic idea.