TU Is A Real Community Of Caring People: Advice, Insights, Thoughts From Other TU Parents

Real Engagement, Real Community

Tiffin University works hard to provide real engagement, and not only for our students, but also our parents.  We know you have questions and concerns – this is all normal.  So we contacted a few other parents for their advice, insights and thoughts.  We hope you find this information useful.  At TU, we believe in a real sense of community, and this includes our parents!

It’s hard to let go of my child.  This is the first time my student has been so far away from home.  Any advice about coping?

It might make it easier to cope if you remember that parenting your child over the years has been a series of “letting go” experiences – kindergarten, sleepovers, first date, driving.  Through each experience, you have empowered your child to develop self-confidence and to take risks to find out who he or she is, and what he or she is capable of.  Life at college is just the next in a series of steps for you as the parent.  Over these years you have helped your child with decision making, with conflict and finance management, and with taking care of personal needs.  These are all skills your child will be utilizing.  College, then, is a necessary next step for both you and your child.  This is not to say, of course, that this will always be easy.  Some parents find it helpful to set up an informal support network with other parents who are going through a similar process.  And some parents cope by arranging a schedule with their students about phone calls and emails, visits to campus, and visits home.

What about homesickness?

Students experience homesickness to varying degrees.  It is typically the worst for those students who have spent very little time away from family and friends.  These students will want to cling to the familiar because of fear of the unknown.  There are various things parents can do to help their students through this painful transition.  First, encourage your child to give the campus environment and community a chance.  You can do this by encouraging your child’s participation in activities on campus that have been designed to help your child “get connected.”  Second, you can reassure your child that your family will always be there for support.  Third, you can reassure your child that he or she does not have to worry about the family at home.  Your student needs to focus on the new life at school, both academically and socially.  Finally, you might consider sending “care packages” from home with news from hometown papers, cookies, and other familiar and favorite items.  Be sure to write often!  An important tip – don’t ask your child if he or she is homesick, because the power of suggestion can be a dangerous thing. 

I know my son/daughter is a legal adult now, but I feel that my child still needs some guidance.  How do I provide that guidance while giving the space necessary to grow?

Your role as a parent changes at this stage in life.  You’re becoming an extremely informed “consultant.”  Your child needs you to listen to his or her feelings without rushing in to “fix” the problem.  Try to help sorting through your child’s options and the consequences of those choices.  A gentle reminder:  You are empowering your child to be an adult independent of you!  Your child needs to know that you believe in him or her, and that you will do your best to stand behind the decisions he or she makes.  Your child also needs to be reminded that we all must make choices for ourselves without any guarantee of the outcome.  Avoid the “I have a right to know” attitude and trust your child.  Trust as well that the core values that you raised your child with will remain the part of who he or she is.

What can I anticipate during the first months my son/daughter is away at college?

You can expect a variety of feelings from your child – joy and relief and confidence at times, and sadness and self doubts at other times. Your child will be defining who he or she is separate from you, from the family, from old friends.  This challenge can be both exciting and a little terrifying.  Your child may deal with the loss by withdrawing emotionally from you during this time.  Or, he or she might call quite often during the first few weeks for reassurance.  It’s not unusual for a student’s grades to be somewhat lower during this first semester as a result of all these stressors. Don’t panic! Typically by the spring semester, students feel more confident and more able to manage stress.

If you have other questions, please feel free to contact us.  Your student’s success is also our success!  At TU, we make it real!