Tips for parents when your child goes to university

The first year in university is a time for transition and changes for both parents and their child. The university encourages students to enjoy freedom and autonomy as well as take responsibilities for their own decisions.

While parents may feel as excited as their children about the new learning environment, they could be more puzzled that their children now spend more time away from home and seem to share less with them.

As a parent and family member, you can make a positive impact by letting go, accepting and adapting to changes and redefining your role in your children’s lives.

Here are some tips for you to….

Stay in touch, appropriately

  • Understand that your children may not reply promptly due to busy schedules
  • Use social media, e.g. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger to stay in touch
  • Make a mutual agreement with them about the frequency and timing for phone calls and family gatherings

Be patient if your children struggle with studies

  • As students need to learn new study strategies for university education and manage competing demands, some students may find their initial grades not as good as expected.
  • Students who used to rank top in their high school may feel particularly disappointed. Reassure them that such disappointment does not equal failure.
  • The academic results are their privacy and therefore we will not disclose them to any third party, even parents. Please ask your child directly.

Encourage proactive problem-solving

  • Listen with an open mind when your children share their problems and stories.
  • Encourage them to get more opinions from different sources (e.g. academic advisers, faculty members, hall wardens, counsellors and senior students) to make sound judgements.
  • Encourage them to take initiatives to explore and make use of university resources, such as language enhancements, career advising and counselling services.

Support whole-person development and comprehensive learning

  • While academic studies is very important, the university place emphasis on whole-person development. Support your children in embracing diverse opportunities such as hall life, student societies, internships and overseas exchange.
  • Encourage your child to learn for the sake of learning instead of merely collecting credentials. Our students often broaden their scope of knowledge by taking elective subjects which they do not major in.

Let go!

  • Understand that your children have their own perspectives, although you may be more experienced and competent.
  • Let your children take responsibilities for their own welfare and future.
  • Let them search and advocate for their true passions in university education, career path and ultimately in life.

 
If you notice your children having adjustment issues, mood or mental health problems, encourage them to seek help as early as possible.

Here's my two cents...

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