Roles of parents

Whether you attend a traditional four-year college or a two-year school, college is an exciting time. It’s a time for fun. For experiencing firsts For self-discovery. For learning, For succeeding. For failure. Mostly for failure.

We have no idea what we’re doing or how to do it, but we do it anyways and with a blinding desire to do it on our own, even though we can’t. College is a limbo between being a dependent child and becoming an independent adult and the hardest part is finding a way to balance the progression into that stage. A lot of that balance rests on the delicate relationship we share with our parents.

After living with our parents for 18 years, being able to do things on our own is exciting. We finally have the chance to learn how to live the rest of our lives and we want to. And we need to use it to its full potential. It’s our only opportunity to make mistakes with a safety net ready at the ready. But we can’t fall if our parents won’t let go.  Obviously we need our parents’ support, but we can’t be smothered. How are we going to survive on our own if we don’t get the chance to try?

Even though we want to be independent, we’re not yet. We need that safety net—and that safety net is our parents. We are completely unprepared to face the world on our own and we need our parents there to help us along the way. A lot of the time, we don’t even realize we need our parents until it’s too late. But they’re so important during our college years. Sometimes even parents don’t realize that. But college isn’t just an exciting experience; it’s also completely and totally terrifying.  We don’t know how to be completely independent, we’re only learning. We have teachers helping us through college as we excel in our major, why can’t our parents help guide us through our learning process as well?

There is no how-to for parenting. It’s all completely trial and error and parents act with only the best intentions at heart. But even the best of intentions can backfire. Because college is a transition into adulthood, parents and children should develop a more adult relationship. Yes, they’re still the parents, but applying more trust and communication won’t hurt.

Balance.  It’s the most important part of being able to navigate college successfully. But without our parents contributing to finding that balance, it’s going to be really hard. Parents need to let us fall, but they need to be there to catch us too.