As parents, we want to set our child up for success! Part of that success is preparing them for college…. the “American Dream”. I recall an episode of the Cosby Show when Cliff Huxtable was teaching Theo the importance of getting good grades to get into college. Cliff gave him a basic budgeting lesson using Monopoly money. Theo thought he had all the right answers. Oblivious to real life and college expectations, Theo’s mindset was “No Problem”. Sound familiar? They think they know it all, right? The reality is that some children aren’t ready for that level of independence. Many college students return home after a semester or two of college, usually because of failing grades, lack of friends, or simply too much partying.
So how do we as parents know if our child is ready to go live on their own? Here are some questions to ponder.
Do you allow your teen to handle problems with a teacher?
If you run to the rescue every time your teen has an issue with a teacher, a missing assignment or a confusing project, you are not doing him/her any favors. Who will speak to their professor when issues arrive? You won’t have the ability to call or email their professor. Well, you will, but chances are, you won’t get a response.
Does your teen successfully manage his or her own studies?
The key word here is manage. You are the Supervisor. Teens should be capable of creating a weekly or monthly schedule of their own activities, class projects and homework. If you have to ask if homework is done, if you’re checking online grades to keep them caught up, if you’re keeping up with supplies or when they run out, the answer is no. As the Supervisor, you provide understanding, help resolve problems, and provide feedback and reports.
Does your teenager wake himself/herself up in the mornings for school?
The first sign of independence is being able to wake self. Teens should have and use alarm clocks and be self-reliant to get themselves up in the mornings. You may say that my teen isn’t a ‘morning person’. I have a lot of experience with teenagers and have 3 children, 2 are teenage boys. Yes, teens like to sleep. That should not be an excuse for mom or dad to continue waking them up. Who will wake them up in college?
Does your teen know what to do in the case of sickness? Would she/he know what medicines to take, when to go to the doctors, how to make a doctor’s appointment?
Vick’s Vapor Rub or a Goody powder heals everything according to my grandmother. Not quite. Hopefully you get the point. She gave me tools to pull from in times of need. College students will get sick: they are in tight spaces with new people, new germs, and different tools to combat them. They shouldn’t be calling home with every cough and sniffle. Teach teens what medicines to use for which symptoms, how to use a thermometer, and when their symptom need immediate medical attention.
Does your teen know when to NOT submit to peer pressure?
The pressure to do what others are doing can be powerful and hard to resist. Teens often give into the pressure because they want to fit in. Teach them that poor choices lead to unpleasant consequences. Teens should know when to say “I can’t go to the mall today, I have a test tomorrow”. If your child is uses friends or social activities as excuses for why things didn’t get done, your answer is no.
Does your teen do a weekly chore without a reminder?
This proves the ability to remember or write down important things or schedule, which is a very important tool in college. If your teen can’t remember to take out the trash once a week, how will he remember what day is a test, financial aid due, or to check his/her mail at college?
Does your teen have a checking account or debit card in their name?
You remember college orientation day when all Credit Card institutions were on the concourse luring you in to apply. In preparation of the temptations, the best time for children to learn how to manage personal finances, how to budget their money and how to spend responsibly, is under an adult’s supervision. Parents can provide a debit card during junior and senior years of high school so that teens can learn to budget their money. This should also decrease the number of phone calls home during the first year of college asking for money!
Does your teen know how to wash his/her own clothes?
Do you recall all the TV shows where college students bring home their laundry for parents to wash? I never understood that. How is that helping your child become a responsible adult? High school is the time to be showing them how to use washers and dryers and then creating a wash schedule weekly that fits into their schedule. Teach them how much detergent to use, how to sort, and how to fold? They'll also need to know how to use machines that accepts coins. Yep, that sounds like you all will have to take field trips to a good ole Laundry Mat!
We are willing to continue working with your high schooler on issues such as independent living, problem solving, handling issues with professors, and scheduling high school courses. If you would like GENESIS help during this time,
call (678) 519-3776.#collegeprephelp