"Power of the 'P' - Parents"
Going off to college appears as the greatest next big thing in life after high school; especially to those who have the desire. The desire could be for enhancement academically or simply for a broad social life and freedom to just be. The transition from high school to college may be a trying and uncertain one in the beginning for some scholars and even worse for their parents or guardians.
With my experience over the years, the parent’s role in a student’s first time college experience has been quite interesting. In many cases the parents bring their child(ren) to college orientations but operate and maneuver as if they are the enrolling student. The parent/guardian will enter the building, sign the student in, tell who they are and what they think the student wants to major in. They will also add what classes their child should or shouldn’t take because they “know them”. While all of this takes place, the student isn’t in paying attention or engaging knowing they’re the one that must endure college classes, live with strangers, adapt and learn to own accountability for everything they do. The parent rarely realizes or care to see the disconnect.
Although this may come off shocking to some, the WORSE thing the parent can do beyond this; is try to plan and make their child bare college. In all honesty, I can understand how many say college isn’t for everyone and in other cases, college right after high school doesn’t work for others. Parents can be a barrier to the student in several ways, that they fail to acknowledge. Failing to acknowledge the disconnect is a major lead to a child not being a successful student. I’ve known a parent to tell their child what they will major in, the child shares over and over that they have no interest and the result is they don’t do well academically and retracts socially. The parent forces the student to stay in a major they aren’t interested in because they are living or just doing life and college because of someone else and not self. Self-motivation and drive is hard to come by this way. How many parents discuss the future and the sincere interest their child may have? How many truly listen and don’t just think, “You’re going where the money is or where a title rings”? Which leads to my greatest concern – DEPRESSION, the deeper issue! Students commit suicide because they can’t deal, forced to do college, forced to pick a major they have no care for, force to interact with total strangers, the failure to adapt to college life – the responsibility and accountability, and those who constantly push them in a direction they have no passion for. That is damaging- mentally, physically and emotionally.
Parents/Guardians must be careful with the pushing and pressure of what they may want out of their child, especially when it’s not their interest. It’s okay to want the best for them, but do your best to help them find the route that interest them to help them achieve their goals, not yours. When young people feel like they aren’t accomplishing anything or just uncertain in their journey, period, they tend to shut down. They question why live because they don’t feel good about anything or that this forced situation they are in isn’t gaining them any praises, their depression deepens and suicide can be a result. USA Today shared approximately 50% of college students have felt suicidal and about 7% have made the attempt.
Students always aim to make parents proud. That’s one of the top three reasons you will hear when you ask why they are doing something. Be care and be mindful of the excess pressures and pay attention to them especially if you choose to push them in areas and directions they have no interest. The pressures of life and depression is too real and does exist!