Tips for Parents/Guardians
As students transition from children to adults, how do you keep
abreast of what is going on in their lives, especially if they aren’t
very communicative? It is common for parents to inquire about their
student’s well being. Here are a few tips...
- Before you contact college staff members, consider the following:
- When students take on the legal status of “adults”, the Family
Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), governs how St. Norbert
College staff members deals with student records. This federal law
does not allow us to share any part of a student’s record with anyone
without student’s written consent. This includes student conduct
records, academic records, and any records pertaining to student
housing. The only exception is in an emergency.
- Denied access can be difficult to comprehend, particularly for parents who pay for their student’s education.
- It is important for your student to be the primary source of the
information that you receive. Encourage them to communicate openly and
honestly with you about issues involving their education. This is a
critical skill to develop and helps build trust and respect between
parents and students.
- College can be frustrating. For many, it is a time of confusing
relationships, redefined friendships, and transition. Many have a hard
time at first.
- Students have a tendency to call parents when they are having an
emotionally difficult day. Many choose to share positive experiences
with their friends and a higher proportion of the negative experiences
- You can provide a listening ear for negative and positive
experiences by making a point to ask about the good things that are
going on. Students need reminding about the positive aspects of their
college experience to develop and help build trust and respect between
parents and students.
|Room for Mistakes
- Students will make mistakes as they negotiate what it means to be
an adult. Some mistakes are more detrimental than others, and many
will be important life lessons.
- The natural inclination is to correct a student when they head
toward an unwise choice. While this is understandable, the end result
may be that the student does not learn how to make that decision
- We ask that parents discuss the options and allow room for students
to make their own decisions. By making the wrong choice and dealing
with the consequences, students learn to make better choices in the
- Trust Issues of trust often come up. Parents who have been involved in
their children’s lives are no longer involved on a daily basis.
Parents wonder what the student is doing when they haven’t heard from
them. In addition to safety concerns, they worry about choices being
made in other areas.
- Our experience indicates that students occasionally make unwise
choices, but most maintain their value system and the skills necessary
to make smart decisions.
- Due to advances in communication technology, students and parents
stay in touch on a daily basis. This is different than in previous
years, when a phone call once a week and the occasional letter or
package from home was all the contact students had with their families.
- New technologies make it easy to remain close but have had a
negative effect on student development. Student’s who maintain close
contact with family and friends from home often do not fully engage in
the college experience.
- Cell phones, e-mail, and instant messaging can be a “crutch” for
students who are not comfortable in their new environment. By filling
their time with people from home, they avoid the difficult task of
making new friends and establishing relationships.
- Parents can help by maintaining a “healthy distance” and
encouraging students to utilize the resources and people at St. Norbert
for interaction and solutions.
- Effectively guiding your student to independence will be very rewarding!
* Taken from “Guiding Your Students to Independence,” provided by UCSB Housing and Residential Services, 2005.
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