Articles for Parents

Everything listed under: college

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    Preparing Your Child for the Real World

    Many college graduates will soon be joining the workforce, some for the first time. The transition can be a real shocker as they face their new reality of 8-hour days, specific start times, no more spring breaks and a limited amount of time for lunch. Plus, some workplaces expect employees to work at a rigorous pace that is foreign to many college students.

    In the adjustment phase, young adults may complain to their parents about workplace practices, demanding bosses, irritating co-workers and deadlines, just to name a few issues. This is nothing new for sure. 

    Anybody who has held a job can probably relate, but here’s where things get interesting. In an effort to be helpful, many parents jump right in to deal with the issue at hand. In fact, you might be surprised at just how many parents are quick to take the reins and deal with the issue themselves.

    In a recent survey of parents of children ages 18-28 conducted by Morning Consult, 11 percent of the parents surveyed said they would contact an employer if their child was having issues at work. Of the parents surveyed:

    • 76% reminded their adult children of deadlines they need to meet, including for schoolwork. 
    • 74% made appointments for them, including doctor’s appointments. 
    • 42% offered them advice on relationships and romantic life. 
    • 16% helped write all or part of a job or internship application. 
    • 15% told them which career to pursue.
    • 14% helped them get jobs or internships through professional network.
    • 14% gave more than $500 per month for rent or daily expenses.

    With the possible exception of giving romantic advice, none of these behaviors on the part of the parent are helpful in preparing a young adult for the real world.

    Instead of jumping in to rescue them, it would be helpful to assist them in being prepared to deal with real-life work situations. Here's how you can start:

    • When they encounter a difficult professor, process with them potential ways to approach the professor and have a conversation. 
    • Teach them how to make their own doctor’s appointments. 
    • If they have internship possibilities, rehearse with them how to make the initial phone call or introduction and talk with them about potential interview questions. 

    If they believe they are being treated unfairly or inappropriately at work, get a good understanding of what is happening. Then:

    • Attempt to walk through the situation with them, but realize the situation is not yours to handle. 
    • Ask them what they think they need to do besides quit, which sometimes ends up being an option if nothing else works, and then help them figure out an action plan they can execute by discussing the pros and cons of all viable options. 
    • If you don’t think you have the knowledge or skill set required to help them decide how to move forward, connect them with someone you believe has the knowledge to do so. Avoid the temptation to make the call yourself. 

    It can be painful to watch your young adult deal with difficult and sometimes very complicated circumstances, especially if they are a hard worker and what they are walking through seems unjust. However, it is not healthy or helpful to jump into circumstances they need to learn how to handle themselves. Life is for sure not fair, and this will likely not be the last time they have to navigate dealing with a difficult situation. 

    Whether your adult child is still in college or in the workforce, writing papers for them, calling them to make sure they are awake, reminding them of deadlines or interfering at work does not prepare your child for the reality of living an independent, productive life. Doing these things will make them more dependent on you and less prepared for dealing with what life hands them on their own.

    This article was originally published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press on March 31, 2019.

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    The Dangers of Overparenting Your Child

    The largest college admissions scandal in history has many people shaking their heads in disgust. 

    In hopes of getting their kids admitted to prestigious schools, parents used bribery, paid off test administrators to change test scores and paid athletic directors and coaches to add names as potential recruits for sports teams. This is troubling on so many levels. 

    Many kids actually worked hard to earn their way into college, but they may have lost their place to someone whose parents worked to play the system. This scandal exposes significant problems in the college admissions process, along with another major dilemma affecting many young people today: overzealous parents trying to snowplow the roads of life for their children.

    One parent arranged for someone else to take a college entrance exam for his son. He told the third party it was imperative that his son never know about it. Imagine being the son who thought he earned the score on that test, only to find out from the media that his father made it happen. Talk about robbing someone of their confidence

    Parents who do things like this often say the motivation behind their behavior is wanting the best for their child, but at what cost? Keep in mind the definition of success for one child might look very different for another. Parents who create a false sense of accomplishment for their child aren’t helping; they are hurting. In the end, these young people will pay a hefty price for their parents’ actions whether they knew about their parents’ actions ahead of time or not.

    Warren Buffett once told a group of Georgia Tech students, “If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don't care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster.” Buffet realizes that money can’t buy love or happiness, nor does it guarantee success. 

    When parents don’t allow their children to fail and learn how to pick themselves up and keep putting one foot in front of the other, they are doing an extreme disservice to their children. Failure is a part of life and can be incredibly motivating when one isn’t afraid of taking risks. Allowing them to experience failure and supporting them as they regain their footing is a very powerful confidence-builder.

    Parents have to ask themselves if the motivation behind the behavior is self-serving. For example, does it just make you look good as a parent or is this in your child’s best interest? 

    If your child has no aspirations to attend college, none of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering you do will change that. In fact, it will likely take a huge toll on your parent-child relationship instead.

    So what can parents do?

    See your child for who he/she is in their gifts, talents, dreams and passions. They will likely have different passions and areas of giftedness that may take them on a path for which you haven’t prepared. You may even be tempted to tell them, “You will never be able to support yourself doing that.” 

    Instead of saying those words, help them know what it will take to succeed. Encourage them and put parameters around where you must draw the line, then be brave enough to let them try. Even if they fail, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a valuable experience. It also doesn’t mean they can’t change their direction if they decide what they are doing isn’t working.

    Pediatrician and author Meg Meeker shared these thoughts in a blog post addressing this issue:

    “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where, or if, your child goes to college. It matters that he is prepared and equipped to lead a healthy adult life. Give him that and you will have given him more than an Ivy League education ever could.”

    This article was originally published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press on March 24, 2019.

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    4 Tips for Handling the College-to-Home Transition

    When college students return home for breaks after spending 10 months basically without a curfew, not having to answer to anybody about their comings and goings, and no chores, the homecoming has the potential to be a bit rocky, especially for freshmen.

    “We weren’t exactly sure what to expect when our daughter came home from her freshman year,” says Kim Clausen. “She was used to being on her own. When I asked where she was going and when she would be back, I got looks like, ‘Why do you need to know that?’ We had to re-acclimate to her being home and she had to get used to being with us. We all survived, but it took some adjustment on everybody’s part. Things were definitely different.”

    Planning Ahead for Adjustments Can Help

    Like so many families, the Clausens had settled into a new routine with their two remaining teens at home. Excited about their daughter’s return, they honestly didn't think a lot about making adjustments as they brought her back into the fold.

    “If we had it to do over again, we would have a conversation prior to her returning home about expectations, schedules and the like,” Clausen says. “When she is away she can do what she wants, but when we are trying to juggle work, the schedules of our other two teens and life in general, we need everybody to be on the same page.”

    Clara Sale-Davis also found herself in the same position as the Clausen family. Before her daughter came home, she thought about how to make the transition easier.

    “I remember when I went home for the summer,” says Sale-Davis. “I thought I was going to be running around doing whatever I wanted. Mom would wash my clothes and have dinner ready. I quickly found out I was delusional. While I am honored that my daughter wants to come home for the summer, I wanted to be proactive with her so she would know what to expect.”

    Sale-Davis let her daughter know that while they wanted home to be a safe haven, it would not be a resort. She encouraged her daughter to find a job and told her that chores would be awaiting her. She also discussed what seemed reasonable for everyone when it comes to staying out late with friends.

    “I thought it would be better to have the conversation ahead of time,” Sale-Davis says. “We talked over the phone and I could hear her eyes rolling. It isn’t that I don’t trust her. We just don’t need to worry unnecessarily.”

    Here are some suggestions for making it a pleasant break for everyone.

    • Establish expectations. Know your priorities, communicate them clearly and discuss what is and is not negotiable. Be clear about what will happen if they do not adhere to your expectations.
    • Don’t expect your young adult to have the same mindset they had when they left for college. They have been making decisions for themselves, so encourage them to continue to do so while respecting the house rules.
    • Choose your battles carefully. If you are encouraging them to make their own decisions, realize that they may not make the same decisions you would make for them.
    • Take this time to help your college student understand what it will be like when they are finally out on their own, paying rent, bills and doing their own laundry.

    The transition to home from college can be interesting, to say the least. While young adults are in the process of becoming more independent, they still rely on their parents in many ways - including providing a roof over their head during the breaks - not to mention paying college tuition.

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    5 Things I Would Say to My Freshman Self

    “I was excited about going away to college,” said Grace Hopkins. “I have basically done everything my entire life with my sister. This will be the first time for both of us to be on our own for an extended period of time.”

    As excited and prepared as Grace thought she was, she experienced some rude awakenings as a freshman.

    “My parents made it a point to teach us how to do laundry, clean our rooms and manage money. I thought I was totally prepared for being on my own,” Grace said.

    “It was kind of a shock when things like time management and budgeting got the best of me. I have always been good about managing my time, BUT I was with friends who were also excited about the newness of college and wanted to have fun first. They encouraged me to have fun and I let some things fall behind.”

    Even though Grace budgeted her money before she went to college, she wasn’t used to having to pay for everything herself.

    “It was just so tempting when your friends wanted to go grab something to eat,” Grace shared. “I figured out pretty quickly that if I kept spending money like this,I was going to be broke before we made it to midterms.”

    Grace is in good company. Many college freshmen have struggled with exactly the same issues. Here are Grace's thoughts on what she would say to her freshman self:

    • Time management is key. "As a freshman, you will want to do it all and experience as much as you can but you have to consider your responsibilities first. You don’t want to wake up at exam time and realize that you are really behind.”
    • Get involved. “I joined a couple of clubs. That was a good way to meet people outside of the people you meet at orientation. It’s a great way to get to know some upperclassmen.”
    • Be prepared for the "roommate thing." “I had not shared a room with someone in many years so it took some getting used to,” said Grace. “We put together a roommate contract the first day about things like expectations concerning bedtime, who could be in the room and when. Even with the written agreement, there were still challenges.”
    • Beware of the little expenditures. "Everything adds up real quick."
    • Getting enough sleep makes a huge difference. “Staying up with friends until 2 a.m. and having to get up for a 9 a.m. class did not work out real well for me.”

    Many teens are anxious to transition to this new phase of life. On the outside, they act confident but on the inside they are wondering: Am I really prepared?

    Encourage your teen to take Grace’s advice. Help them with strategies for balancing their newfound freedom and responsibility.

    Discuss potential risks and the difficult choices they may have to make. Mistakes are inevitable, but you can prepare and empower your teen to enter into their freshman year with confidence. In the end, experience will be their best teacher.

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    College Prep: It's Not What You Think

    Over the last several years, attorney Courtney Bullard has advised on or participated in more than 150 sexual assault investigations on college campuses across the country.

    “I specialize in working with colleges in matters involving sexual misconduct,” says Bullard. “I conduct external investigations, oversee investigations and provide legal advice on how to ensure colleges are complying with laws that dictate how they respond to allegations of sexual misconduct. What keeps me awake at night is the fact that we are not educating our kids about these issues before they set foot on a college campus. The hook-up culture is rampant. Teens don’t know the definition of consent. Nor do they understand the realities of what they might face in college if they find themselves accusing someone of rape, or being accused of rape.”

    The media has certainly brought to light some of these cases, including the Vanderbilt University case where a guy on the top bunk witnessed the rape but pretended to be asleep because he was afraid. He was found guilty, along with those who participated in the actual sexual assault.

    “What people see on television is a very narrow picture of what is going on on college campuses across the country,” Bullard says. “What I typically see are two students getting wasted and having sex. One believes they were raped; one believes everything was completely consensual. Neither fully remembers the entire encounter. Both of them are forever impacted.”

    Before you stop reading because you think this would never happen to your child or to your grandchild, Bullard strongly urges you to think again. Most of the cases Bullard sees involve freshmen. And, it doesn’t matter if they: are going to a small faith-based institution, planning to live at home, are strong-willed and would probably never put themselves in that situation or understand consent. It could happen to your family member, even if you think these things only happen to other people. 

    “I have sat across from so many parents sitting next to their child in tears saying all of these things,” Bullard says. “I have sat across from young women who can no longer finish school because they are unable to recover from what happened. I have sat across from young men whose dream of going to medical school, law school, graduate school, etc. is over because they have been found responsible for sexual misconduct and their transcript is forever marked. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard ‘I did [fill in the blank - smacked her butt for example] because on TV that's what girls like.’ These are not criminal cases/investigations, they are investigations and findings conducted by college campuses.”

    Bullard believes parents and teens can do a better job of preparing for college life by educating themselves on these issues. Students should familiarize themselves with their college’s sexual misconduct policy and definition of consent. Parents need to talk with their teens about the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships.

    “For all the parents out there saying, ‘I lived large at college and I turned out okay,’ I would strongly encourage them to recognize that this is a different time with many variables that were not in play back in the day, including social media.”

    Bullard also believes teens could benefit from taking bystander intervention training so they know what to do if they see someone in a potentially dangerous situation.

    “This is one of the most powerful tools we have to make a difference when it comes to dealing with sexual assault,” Bullard asserts. “Make sure your teen has a strategy ahead of time for dealing with potential risks. Teach them how to be good citizens and do not downplay the seriousness of this issue.”

    Although Bullard is not a counselor, she is absolutely passionate about making sure teens have the necessary information to help them make wise decisions when they get out on their own. You can email Bullard at [email protected] to learn more about getting this information into your teen's hands.

    “So much of the pain I deal with on these campuses is preventable,” Bullard shares. “We really owe it our kids to give them the information they need in order to have a successful college experience and future.”

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    Next Steps After Graduation

    Parents of graduating seniors have probably heard more than once, “I can’t wait until I don’t have to listen to your rules and I can do whatever I want.”

    Most seniors are giddy over the idea of heading off to college. They are eager to choose their own bedtime, where they keep their things and how late they stay out. As launching time approaches, many of these seniors who were super-confident at graduation start questioning themselves: What if I chose the wrong college? What if I don’t make any friends? What if I am choosing the wrong career track?

    Many parents are also experiencing a mixed bag of emotions. They are excited about their teen taking the next step, yet somewhat fearful about their future. Parents realize a big transition is coming and there are still nuggets of wisdom they wish to pass on, yet they don’t have much time to do it. They become clingy at a time when their teen is trying to be more independent. This can make for a very interesting and long summer.

    Fortunately, all of this is a natural reaction to graduation.

    What can you do to help your graduate successfully leave the nest with confidence? Here are some tips just for you.

    • Just listen. Let them talk about all of the things running through their mind. Try to do this without minimizing their feelings.

    • Remind them that they can choose to water seeds of doubt and let the lies grow or they can pluck them out quickly before the roots get too strong.

    • A little stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Any new journey will by definition produce anxiety. You can’t help but wonder about this, that and the other. The little bit of anxiety goes a long way to help us perform at our best.

    • Remind them that the applicant pools have never been larger than they are now. If they received an acceptance letter, they can rest assured that the institution believes they can handle the work. The letter speaks volumes about the preparedness they bring to the college campus.

    • Don’t believe that nobody on the college campus will care. There are many people on campus who want to see their students succeed.

    • As a parent, you may be struggling too. Instead of trying to talk through this with your graduate, seek the wisdom and support of other parents who are already on this journey.

    • If you have always done your teen’s laundry, cooked their meals, managed their money and helped them get to school/job on time, STOP. Summer is a great time to learn how to do these things for themselves, since you won’t be accompanying them to college.

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    Making the Empty-Nest Transition

    It’s coming and you know it’s coming, and you're doing everything in your power NOT to think about it. But when your youngest child leaves and you're alone with a deafeningly silent house, you'll want to be ready for the transition.

    Thousands of young people head off to college each year, leaving their parents with a lot of time on their hands. Although they understand their role has changed, they are not quite sure what that means. Everything is different. No more school sports. No need to buy so many groceries. The mess throughout the house? Gone.

    Some parents are excited about this newfound freedom while others find this time rather depressing.

    “Making this transition can be tough,” says Pam Johnson, licensed clinical social worker and mother of two adults who have flown the nest. “You have to stay focused on the idea that your child is becoming his own person and pursuing dreams, which was the goal all along. Instead of lamenting the fact they don’t need you anymore, think about what they do need and the opportunity you have before you. As parents, we often put off our own interests to focus our attention on the needs of our children. This is a new season filled with opportunities.”

    Johnson recalls that when her daughter went off to college, she and her husband dealt with the transition differently. Her world was turned upside down, but her husband seemed to take everything in stride. When she asked him about it, he explained that their daughter was happy. And he felt confident they had given her a great foundation to stand on her own two feet.

    Johnson offers these strategies for making the transition to the empty nest:

    • Plan ahead. Don’t wait until your child leaves to think about how you will deal with your extra time. Plan some projects to occupy your time. Be intentional about scheduling weekend activities you can do as a couple.

    • Set limits for yourself. As your child settles into a new routine, there will be lots of demands on their time. Let your child make the first phone call and try to limit yourself to checking in once a week. E-mailing or texting are great ways to check in and be supportive without being intrusive.

    • Be there when your child needs you. The first few months may be hard for your child. Encourage perseverance. Send care packages and cards. Make your home a refuge to which they will want to return.

    • Consider the next thing. You have been given the gift of being a parent for a season of life. As that role changes, you will want to consider what’s next. Keep your eyes and heart open to where you need to go in life and what you want your life to be about.

    “Letting go is hard,” Johnson says. “You want to let go of them gracefully.

    “Here’s a little secret. When they come home, you will be happy to see them come home AND you will be happy to see them go because you will have transitioned into new routines and rituals that aren’t all about them.”


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    Tips for the First Trip Home From College

    “I remember going home for Christmas my freshman year,” says Akeyla Madison. “I had been on my own for five months and felt good about how I was doing. When I arrived home, I was surprised to found out I would be sharing a room with my sister who is six years younger than me because my room had been turned into a storage room. I’m pretty sure my mom didn’t think that would be a big deal.

    “My mom also wanted to know where I was, who I was with and what I was doing. I felt smothered and honestly couldn’t wait to get back to college and my freedom.”

    While parents and family members are excited to see their freshman come home for the holidays, the transition can be complicated for everybody, especially if expectations are not clear on the front end.

    “I didn’t know ahead of time I would be sharing a room with my little sister,” Madison remembers. “Because there was such an age difference, it made me uncomfortable. My mom didn’t want me staying out late because she was afraid I would wake up my sister when I came home. We survived each other, but it wasn’t pretty.”

    Her sophomore year, Madison decided to try something different. She called her grandmother who lived close by and asked to stay with her over the winter break. 

    “That worked out a lot better on so many levels,” Madison says. “My mom and I got along better. There was no tension between my sister and me, and I think we all enjoyed the holidays more.”

    Madison is now preparing to graduate. When asked how she would advise parents and college students preparing for their first long break together, she shared the following:

    Communication is critical. Everybody needs to talk about expectations for being together before the break begins. Talk about the family plans and ask your young adult about their plans for the holidays. If you expect them to be at certain events, be clear about that. Discuss expectations for helping out around the house, their friends coming over to visit, food in the refrigerator, coming and going, meals, etc. These things can create unnecessary drama due to unspoken expectations on both sides.

    Flexibility is a good thing. Being away at school has allowed your young adult to use many of the skills you taught them at home, but coming back home is an adjustment for everybody. If the parents and college student are willing to adjust, things will probably go a lot better. It’s important to remember that the family has created their own new normal without the college student and the student has probably grown in their independence - which is the ultimate goal, right? Just because they return home does not mean things will or even should revert back to the way they were before they left. Some students choose to earn extra spending money for the next semester. This can throw a monkey wrench into holiday plans as well. 

    Mutual respect goes a long way. When learning to dance a new dance, it’s easy for everyone involved to get frustrated or say and do things they will ultimately regret. Respecting each other while trying to work things out goes a long way. For the college student, it means realizing you aren’t company. Expecting people to wait on you hand and foot and make adjustments based on everything you want to do isn’t realistic or respectful. For everybody, you still have to respect what you don’t understand.  

    “Looking back, I realize I felt more like an adult, but my mom saw me as just 18 and had the life experience to know all that could potentially go wrong,” Madison recalls. “That created tension between the two of us. At this point I think I have a better understanding of why my mom was concerned and I can clearly see that she wanted the best for me. I think if we had actually done the things listed above, the transition would have been smoother for both of us.

    “Believe it or not, most of the time we really are paying attention to the things you say and are teaching us. We may do some stupid things along the way, but for the most part we want you to see that we are capable.” 

    For tips on parenting, get our E-book, "How to be a Guide for your Teen." Download Here

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    How to Prepare for College Break and the Holidays

    Many families will experience a new normal when college students arrive home for their first extended break. The thought of sleeping in their own beds, eating good food and resting for about a month sounds amazing. But parents and college students alike will wonder about a few things, like:

    • Should I spend time with family or catch up with old friends?

    • What rules do we play by now?

    • And, are curfew and other details really necessary?

    While parents and students both look forward to this time, “It’s complicated” could definitely describe how things will go without conversations ahead of time. If you want to lay the foundation for a great visit, don't wait until the last minute to prepare. Here are some helpful suggestions for both parents and students.

    For Parents:

    • Re-think the rules. It is hard to be treated like an adult at school and like a kid at home.

    • Be interested in their new friends and their happenings at school.

    • Remember that it is an adjustment for everybody, not just you.

    • Recognize that college students feel a lot of pressure when they come home. They want to spend time with their family and their friends.

    • Be creative. Instead of complaining about the time they spend visiting friends, throw a party and invite everybody to your house. That way you can catch up on the latest, too!

    • Anticipate that your student will need some rest. They have just completed exams. Try to be understanding if they are a little grouchy the first couple of days.

    • Warn younger siblings that things will probably be different and be aware of their feelings, as they too are dealing with change.

    For Students:

    • Even though you have had your freedom, be respectful to your parents. If they ask you where you are going and when you will be back, tell them because it is the right thing to do. If you want to be treated like an adult, act like one.

    • Ask your parents if they are open to rethinking some of the house rules. If they are, offer constructive suggestions and don’t push the edge of the envelope.

    • Remember, your parents have been away from you. Be open to spending time with them. Answer their questions about school and your new friends.

    • Make the most of your visit with your parents. Don’t take them for granted. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

    • Many parents will still have to get up early and go to work. Consider how your actions could impact their ability to get good rest and do their job.

    • Try to balance your time at home and with your friends. (Sleeping in your own bed doesn’t count as time spent with your family).

    Be encouraged. Although it can happen, heading home during the holidays doesn’t have to cause tension. A few conversations, along with some compromise on both sides, could set the stage for some great memories this holiday season.

    For tips on parenting, get our E-book, "How to be a Guide for your Teen." Download Here

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    The Hookup Culture

    Prior to her current position as non-resident research associate at the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame, Donna Freitas was a professor. While teaching a dating and spirituality class, she became intrigued with the hookup culture on college campuses.

    Her students often talked about how great hooking up was and that everybody was doing it. Following spring break, students discussed what happened over the break. One woman who hooked up all the time said, “I hook up a lot. Not sure why I do it. I don’t like it.” One by one, other students said they felt the same way.

    This sent Freitas on a quest to discover if her students were different from students on other college campuses.

    For nine years, Freitas has traveled to college campuses to talk with students about sex and hooking up. Freitas interviewed students at private secular, public and Catholic colleges and universities. Her findings shed light on what drives the hookup culture.

    Forty-five percent of student interviewees said young adults believe they are expected to be casual about sex in college. Thirty-six percent thought their peers were too casual about sex. When asked about the definition of a hookup, students preferred a very broad definition because of the pressure to hook up. They defined it as anything from kissing to sex.

    Freitas also discovered an official social contract surrounding hooking up.

    • Hookups must be brief, which could mean five minutes in the corner kissing or a quickie in the restroom.

    • Those involved are to feel zero emotion to avoid attachment. They think communicating is bad, because it could lead to feeling, which is completely against the rules.

    • Hooking up often involves alcohol. Many students said that without alcohol, nobody would ever get together.

    When asked about their attitudes concerning hookups, 41 percent said they were profoundly unhappy. Another 23 percent expressed ambivalence about their feelings toward the experience, and 36 percent said they were more or less fine with it.

    Many students said that hookups were efficient because they were really busy, over-scheduled and always on the go. They really didn’t have time for relationships in college so hookups were an efficient way to get sex. Yet when Freitas asked students about dating, both men and women said that nobody dates on campus, but that they wished they would. In reality, many respondents said if someone would ask them out on a date they would go. There was much interest in dating, but the students felt like they couldn't date. Additionally, Freitas said there was so much yearning for romance and a connection of knowing and being known.

    So what is the response to the hookup culture? Freitas makes these three recommendations:

    • Teach young adults to slow down. Many students go and do without thinking which perpetuates the hookup culture.

    • Press the pause button. Encourage them to take a break, if only for the weekend, from the party culture.

    • Start talking about love, romance, dating, intimacy and relationship skills. Most young people lack relationship skills, unwittingly advancing the hookup culture.

    For tips on parenting, get our E-book "How to be a Guide for your Teen." Download Here

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    A Checklist for Sending Your Child to College

    In addition to sending her own two sons to college, Rose-Marie Hippler helps hundreds of families get ready for the college sendoff.

    "Having been through this personally as well as professionally, I bring experience and expertise to parents and their young adults as they leap into the next phase of life," says Hippler, who has a master's of social work and is an independent educational consultant at Winter Park College Consultants.

    "There are usually a lot of emotions stirring around as the anticipation of going off to college draws closer," she says. "I remember when we were on the countdown. There were days when I thought the first day of college couldn't get here fast enough. I decided that was God's way of preparing you to say goodbye."

    Hippler believes one way parents and their teens can keep nerves and anxiety at bay is to create a plan for all they need to accomplish before heading off to college. One way to keep emotions in check is to put together a plan of action.

    Here are some things that may not be on your radar, but Hippler says need to be on your checklist:

    • Make sure your teen has had a physical and all the shots they will need. If your teen is on a regular medication, you will want to transfer their prescription to a local pharmacy. And, unless you have signed the HIPAA form, healthcare professionals cannot legally give you information about your injured or hospitalized adult child.
    • Make a copy of everything in their wallet in case they lose it, which will probably happen at least once.
    • Mark all the upcoming events on your calendar. Don't forget parent's weekend, sports events you plan to attend, Christmas and spring breaks and even the mid-term and finals schedule. Make hotel reservations early for events such as parent's weekend and airline reservations for your student's Thanksgiving and winter breaks.
    • If your teen has not already opened a checking account, now is the time. Instead of writing all the checks, let them do it. It gives them a good indication of your investment in their education. Plus, it lets them get the hang of balancing a checkbook and keeping up with their own money.
    • Alcohol, drugs, sex, campus safety and mental health issues are factors on every college campus. Your teen probably thinks they have a really good handle on things. However, it's still a good idea to have some serious conversations about campus conduct. There are too many examples of teens whose poor choices during the college years forever changed their lives.
    • If they don't know how to do their laundry, teach them then let them do their thing. The first time Hippler visited visit one of her sons, she noticed a stack of sheets in his laundry basket. He explained that he put all three sets of sheets on his bed at once so he could pull off the top fitted and flat sheets and be ready to go. Then he waited until they were all dirty to wash them. It's not the way she would have done it, but it worked for him.
    • Tell them you believe in them and they have been preparing for this their entire life. From the time they went to kindergarten, to middle school, and then to high school, those firsts have been preparing them for this next step in their journey.

    If you're struggling with letting go, find experienced friends to walk you through this time of transition. And keep reminding yourself, this is normal.

    For more helpful tips on sending your teen off to college, visit knowsymoms.com.