Remember that the Counseling Service is available to provide support to your student. If you have concerns, you can call us to consult about how to proceed or what supports are available. Even though counseling is confidential, you can tell us anything.
Remember that all students are experiencing a time of transition with the start of this extraordinary fall term. This is true for first years, seniors, those going to or coming from abroad, transfer, and exchange students. It is true for those students who will come to campus this year and those who will study remotely. Transitions can stir up a person’s sense of security as one is not quite sure of the rules or of one’s place/niche.
Keep in mind that as your student transitions, the entire family begins to transition and experiences significant shifts and changes. For parents in particular, you might also experience confusion, helplessness and a sense of void in your life as your student becomes more self-reliant or looks to others for support and advice. Alternatively, at times they may be more reliant on you in ways that may feel like a setback on newly found independence. Obviously managing feelings on a daily basis is an ongoing challenge for us all and communication can go a long way towards working out how to be supportive.
Being able to acknowledge shifts and changes is a good thing. So when your student shares new experiences as well as the many feelings that accompany them, take time to listen. The more you listen, the more your student will open up.
Having a room of one’s ownmight still be important. So if your student is leaving home, think twice before any permanent reassignment of their personal space at home, even if the younger sibling can’t wait to have the room.
The developmental stage and task(s) for the traditionally-aged student is one of identity and intimacy. This will take many shapes and forms. So, just wait a while and be patient as they get a sense of who they are and who they want to be.
There is the education in the classroom, the virtual classroom, and the education outside of the classroom. All will get your student prepared to navigate life. Learning how to manage conflict and to advocate for oneself is part of the overall education. Also, participating in extracurricular activities helps one to manage time, organize the schedule and take on different roles and leadership positions, set priorities and ultimately prepare for the work world.
Developing greater self-reliance and autonomy skills is also a part of the education outside of the classroom. So let your student begin to depend more on oneself and less on you. Instead of doing certain tasks, encourage your student to do it. Say, I know you can do it. Call me later once it’s worked out. This could include scheduling appointments, managing finances, etc.
Although it might feel at times that your student is leaving you and has little interest in remaining connected, know in your heart that you remain very important!
Check out our website; there is a host of information that you might find interesting. Encourage your student to do the same.
If your child is calling home in distress, encourage help-seeking behavior, whether at the Counseling Service, with the Resident Life Staff, Class Dean, Cultural Advisor, Spiritual Advisor, etc.
Remember the On-line Screening tool which includes self-screening for depression, anxiety, and eating issues. This screening tool can be accessed via the Administrivia Channel in the Students tab of MyWellesley.
Also encourage them to try out WellTrack, a cognitive-behavioral tool to help one develop more effective ways to cope with anxiety and depression: it can be accessed under Self-Help Resources on our website.
Ask your student how often you should talk and what feels right for both of you. Have an open conversation about this, giving the message that a mutual decision is what you value. This will give permission to think about what your student needs and is comfortable with and it will also assist you with the transition as your student grows and develops.
And last but not least, we bet your student would love to receive a surprise care package if they have come to campus.