Things you learn at orientation…

I have to say I was a little skeptical about attending the Parents portion of Freshman Orientation, but I was pleasantly surprised. Alabama did a great job of keeping things informative without being too boring. Figured I’d share some of the key takeaways for any of you getting ready to send your kids off for their freshman year.

First, you need to transition from a fixer to a coach. You can’t be there to fix all of the problems you child will face. Instead you need to help coach them through the problem. That also means you need to learn the difference between venting and them asking for help. Best first question when your freshman calls home upset, do you need to vent or do you need advice? As a mom I always want to jump into protector mode and fix things for her, but she’s got to learn to handle issues on her own.

Second, there will be some sort of roommate drama. Don’t you fight with your teenager over cleanliness, laundry, dishes, mood, etc.? I’m sure the answer is yes, so expect them to have some of the same issues with their roommate. Temperature, cleaning, guests and noise seem to be the biggest area of disagreements. Talk to your freshman now about how to talk through these issues and how to compromise. Get them to define what they want before they leave so they know how to express those wants to their roommate. Remind them they have to TALK not text with their roommate to resolve an issue.

Third, learn to stick to a budget. If you give kids free reign to your credit card, most will use it as much as they want. You need to have a finances discussion and make sure they know how much they have to spend each week or month. Honestly discuss how much they think they will actually use the meal plan. Are they really going to get up at 7am for breakfast or will they grab a granola bar in their room? Conversations like these will help you pick the meal plan that makes the most sense so you aren’t overspending. Remind them that when they swipe their student ID it’s real money and it’s coming from somewhere. If they have a lighter schedule, encourage them to get a job on campus. Usually these jobs are really flexible around their class schedule and allow for some study time.

Lastly, be patient and kind. They’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to get upset. Try not to escalate a situation. Try to help calm them down so you can work through the problem together. We probably made some of the same mistakes so try to keep that in mind.

I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone, and soon she’ll be living far from home. After this past week, I’m grateful that she’s going to a school where I feel she’ll be supported!! Roll Tide 🐘

Any advice for shipping you kids far from home? How’d you handle the transition? Can’t wait to hear from you! Love, TC

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