Tuesday, October 12, 2010

GUEST POST: Enjoying Parent's Weekend with Your Freshman

Parent’s Weekend at your son or daughter’s new college is something many parents and new freshmen really look forward to. For the adults, it’s a chance to see where and how your teen is living day to day. For the freshmen, it’s a chance to show their parents how they’re managing their independent lifestyle.

Here are a few tips that helped make my first Parent’s Weekend a successful one:

  • Ask your teen give you a personal tour of the campus. What they choose to show and tell you will most likely be what’s been most important to them about their college experience so far.

  • Use their guest passes to eat a few meals in the dining hall (preferably lunch of dinner). This is guaranteed to give you unlimited access to many of their new friends and it’s much easier to get to know the other students when you’re chatting over a meal than by just saying hello in passing. You can also offer to take your teen and a friend or two out to dinner at a local restaurant that they haven’t discovered yet. A free meal is always appreciated and, if it’s a good experience, has the added bonus of letting you start a new tradition of eating at the same favorite place together every time you visit.

  • Resist the urge to criticize. Bite your tongue whenever you feel the need to question dress, eating, or study habits, the choice of room décor, or your freshman’s sleep schedule. They’re trying to develop decision-making, organizational, and limit-setting skills and your new role is to listen and let them know you’ll always be there for them.

  • Last but not least, have fun enjoying each other’s company as you enter this exciting new phase of your relationship!

Sue Henninger recently returned from her first Parent's Weekend in Dallas, Texas with her son, a freshman at Southern Methodist University. Visit her website at sue@fingerlakeswriter.com

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