Tips for the Supportive LMU Parent

At LMU we recognize that you may still see your son or daughter as needing your help in this transition to college. In some ways this is true, but we also know that they will grow and develop in significant ways as they begin their college experience. Here are some tips that will help you as a parent to support this growth and development.

1. Parents must let their student take the lead on managing all university business.

We know that they are learning about all aspects of their college experience and will still look to you for guidance, but it is important that they know about all aspects of their LMU business including the billing, cost and financial aid requirements as well as academic requirements and their college record. They can and will learn to manage all aspects with encouragement and practice.

2. Allow and encourage your student to develop personal and professional relationships with their professors and advisors and learn to manage these relationships.

Please do not call their professors or advisors! If your student has a question or concern, it is their responsibility to make that call or make an appointment to discuss their concerns. If your student has shared information about a situation with you, please remember they have only shared from their perspective.

3. Be prepared for mistakes and missteps, and expect there will be challenges.

No matter how independent your student is, he or she will still turn to you when they are upset or at a loss for what to do. The time when you can fix their problems or prevent their mistakes has passed, but being there for your student is still important. You can always offer a listening and non-judgmental ear, ready with advice if they ask for it, but willing to let them make their own decisions. Now that they are adults, they will look to you as a model of adulthood. Each time you affirm their development it provides the stepping stone to a deeper level of growth and development.

4. Listen.

There will be time when your student is homesick, sad, disappointed or overwhelmed. Oftentimes, they are just looking to you as a safe place to fall and a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes, simple words of gentle encouragement, like "I know you can do this, or I am proud of you," are enough. Don't jump in and try to fix the problem, give them time and space to talk through the situation and encourage them to come up with their own solution.

5. Embrace the growth and change in your student.

College is a time of exposure to new ideas and diversity, and this will lead to changes in beliefs, values, expectations, and goals for your student. Even if they change in ways you find challenging, remember that oftentimes students are not permanently rejecting all they grew up with: they are merely making decisions for themselves and redefining what and who they are in this new, expanded world. Let your student grow and change without criticism or rejection.