As a parent, you can encourage your children to find a healthy balance between their academic work and social lives. The ideas below are not comprehensive of everything you can do to help your student. In fact, I started with seven and ended with three.
Ultimately, helping your student comes down to how well you know your child. An introverted kid might need more encouragement to make friends, and a socially active freshman might need a gentle reminder that his grades are important. You probably need to first listen well and watch from a distance while your student figures it out. Here I’ve listed three subtle things a parent can do to encourage an academic/social balance.
- Expect your child to have a life on campus. Expectations are everything. If you communicate that you understand your kid’s life is on campus, and you encourage your student to be at HBU on the weekends and to participate in campus activities, they probably will.
- Pay attention to the content when your child speaks. If he is only talking about his classes, ask about his friends. If she is only talking about her friends and social activities, ask about her classes. You show what you care about by your questions.
- Have your own life and talk about it. Children emulate their parents. Today your child is a baby adult, and he’s watching you, whether or not either of you realizes it. So do you have a life outside of your kids? Do you brag that you’re doing something fun? Do you tell them when you’re stressed at work and how you deal with it? I’m not saying to emotionally dump on them. They’re dealing with enough of that surrounded by hundreds of other 18-22 year olds, but if you’re transparent with them about adult situations, they might “catch” some things. The transition from child to friend is a beautiful process of growing up, and it starts with some transparency on your part as the parent.