by Dr. Allen Bonner, DPC, LPC
This year has definitely not been what one would call typical. The coronavirus pandemic made sure of that. Everyone has been affected by the virus in one way or another, but this year has been particularly difficult for students and parents. Recent graduates had no idea that they would not get to have the normal experiences many of their friends and family members had in the past; celebrations representing the culmination of their academic and extra-curricular achievements. As schools figure out how to resume for the fall semester, current seniors can’t help but wonder if this will subside by the time they are ready for graduation. As parents and students try and figure out in-person learning or continued at-home instruction, here are some tips for parents on how to support their students in regards to navigating these unusual times.
Listen, support, and understand – Students need to know their concerns are valid and heard. Parents can make sure students have a solid sounding board for processing their thoughts and offering guidance and feedback…when solicited. These are such unique times, so even though none of us have had to deal with a crisis like this on such a large scale, we can listen intently and hear our students express their concerns.
Show interest and be encouraging – It is important to check in with your student. Show a genuine interest in their subjects and activities. We all love when people ask us about our lives, our school, our social activities, and our work. Students and parents having dialogue with each other will allow for the parents to feel involved and will show the students that they have a confidant.
Trust, have an open mind, and don’t push – It can be difficult to stand back sometimes. Parents want to help and have probably had many years of being involved with their kids’ social and academic lives, but this is a time to let students continue to gain their independence. Again, show interest and have dialogue with your children, but trust that they can achieve whatever goals they have set for the semester. Sometimes other people’s plans do not look like our plans, and that is ok. It can be difficult to not push someone in the direction we think they should go. Remember, sometimes if we push too hard, our children can push harder in the opposite direction.
Keep busy and don’t take it personally – It helps students to see other people’s lives continuing to move forward, so if parents can continue to stay busy with their own activities such as hobbies and work, that could help their young adults feel that they can do the same. Everyone is having to figure out their new schedule and new normal. Also, try not to take it personally if your student doesn’t include you on every decision or inform you of everything. Relationships vary, but many students (especially those in college) have been living relatively independent lives, so they may not be used to intense involvement from parents, guardians, or other family members. Everyone can focus on working together to get through this temporary situation, and try to find the silver lining.
Final take away
Remind students that this too shall pass, and everyone is in the same boat. In the grand scheme of things, the memories they have made cannot be taken from them. They are still obtaining their degrees and moving forward to great things!
Here’s a few reminders as your student gets back to school:
- Inquire with teachers/advisors about any concerns and do not procrastinate.
- Reach out to the school’s student support department for direction to various services the school provides (counseling, advising, tutoring, disability, career services).
- Set a daily routine (study, attend class, exercise, eat, sleep, wear a mask and wash hands!).
- Stay involved with church, friends, and school clubs and activities however you can (in-person in small groups, or virtually).
- Take time to be outside and away from technology every now and then.
If you need help navigating the struggles of this year, please give us a call today at 601-268-8796. At March we have licensed, caring professionals available to walk with you through all the seasons of life.