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The Parent's Guide to Student Life

When your kids go off to university you have to make your peace with the fact that you’re never going to get the full story of what happens next. Even if you pride yourself on having an honest relationship with your children, and can talk about anything, this is the point at which you’re only ever going to get the edited highlights. This is mostly nothing to worry about, and a necessary part of growing up: your children need privacy from their parents to grow.

Today we’re offering a peek behind the curtain of student life, to help you imagine what your children are up to and read between the lines of the polite parents version you’ll get when you catch up.

Moving in Day

Whether you’re moving your child (soon to be a young adult) into Chambers 51 in Wolverhampton or Bishop Bateman Hall, at Trinity Hall Cambridge there are going to be two forces acting on them. There are nerves, that will make them reluctant to say goodbye, and excitement that will have them pushing you out the door.

If they seem eager to get rid of you, try not to take it too much to heart – it’s just that nothing cramps anyone’s style like their parents and there’s a whole world of new people to meet. It’s worth taking this into account. Do your emotional goodbyes at home, in the car, or in a café first. This lets moving in be about the future.

Staying in Touch

The university experience is different for everyone. Some adore it, some can’t stand it. Some are in the library every hour they aren’t at lectures, while others devote a similar amount of time to local pubs. Clubs and societies mean everyone has the chance to develop a second life as an actor, a footballer, a comedian or politician.

You’re going to want to hear about everything that happens, but a daily catch up won’t work for everyone. Rather than phone at any and all times, try to arrange a convenient time for a call – daily, weekly, or monthly, they’ll be able to tell you what works with their new schedule or lectures, studies, friends and fun. Facetime, along with Whatsapp and Facebook video calls make it much easier for a call like this to feel like an event, and for you to feel closers.

The important thing is to give your newly minted student some latitude. As long as they feel like they’re in control, they’ll have the confidence to call you when it’s really important, and that’s the vital thing for feeling like you haven’t lost your child to the student life.

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