by Kirrin Coleman

The final two years of high school tend to be full-tilt, a whirl of activities, events, dramas, and, oh yes, college applications. As a parent, it seems that one day you’re anxiously awaiting your child’s return from their first solo drive and the next day you’re waving goodbye from the dorm parking lot. The transition from high school to college is rife with conflicting emotions–for both students and parents. Take heart: Your child still needs you, but they need you differently. Here are nine ways to support your child’s transition into college and six tips for taking care of yourself during this stage.

1)    Accept that there will be change–for you, your child, and your relationship. While the two of you will have very different experiences, it will likely be an exhilarating, sometimes bumpy, time for both of you. Accept that they will have their own experience at college, which will be very different from your own college experience.

2)    Help your child identify resources that will empower them. They need to know where the health center is, how to access mental health support, and where to go for tutoring. And they should know all of that well before they need it. Create a document that includes local resources they can access in case of an emergency, their health insurance information, along with the names and numbers of nearby family members and family friends they can reach out to for assistance.

3) Know that your parenting will shift in this time of transition. In all stages of parenting the adage “be the parent your child needs you to be” applies. Your child’s job at this point in life is to develop self-reliance. This is as true for children who are eager to live independently as it is for those who need a little nudge out of the nest. (To read the full publication, visit our website

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