Parenting from a Distance

Students handle the demands of college life in many different ways. Some thrive in the face of new challenges—others react cautiously or fearfully. Parents too, react with a range of concerns.


  • Is my student serious about her studies?
  • Will college be an opportunity for too much partying?
  • Is my student mature enough to choose trustworthy friends and/or dating partners?
  • Can my student handle the realities of city life?
  • Will my student make wise career choices?

For both parent and adolescent, college is a transition towards adulthood. The transition can include the following developments:


First Year

  • Leaving home
  • Meeting diverse peers
  • Testing values and expectations
  • Sampling freedom and independence
  • Looking to adults outside the family for guidance/support/direction


  • Exploring a major and/or career
  • Doubting choices
  • Deepening relationships with others
  • Questioning self
  • Exploring a new identity


  • Greater comfort with career choice
  • Less dependent on family for support
  • More self-reliant
  • Values and lifestyle choices becoming clearer


  • Transition from college to graduate school or first job
  • Increased uncertainty in regards to the realities of supporting self, finding new friends, and a new place to live
  • A time of leaving the many securities of college life

Development milestones are characterized by a mixture of excitement and apprehension. Your student may feel overwhelmed at times and call home for support and understanding. Sometimes these concerns will pass with patient listening and reassurance on your part. Sometimes professional help may be needed. Careful listening, raising options about what is helpful, and providing support can assist your student in making wise choices. Unfortunately, growth has its moments of anxiety, fear, depression. Each student will find a way to manage these emotions. If you have any concerns about your student's mental health, you may call us for consultation; however, due to confidentiality, we cannot release any information about your student without their express consent. 

If you are wanting someone to reach out to check in on your student, please reach out to the Dean for Student Experience.

The following may provide additional insight, reassurance, and guidance in parenting your student.


When Kids Go to College: A Parent's Guide to Changing Relationships. Barbara and Philip Newman. Ohio State University Press, 1992.

Letting Go: A Parent's Guide to Understanding the College Years. Coburn, K. and N. Treeger. Harper Perennial, 1997.