I had a non-traditional introduction to parenting. I wasn’t married. I was 20. I had more support than a little black girl was supposed to (statistically) and I successfully matriculated through college three times.
We are headed into year two and parenting a college student has mostly been proof of what role I played and how I raised him for 18 years. After explaining the business of college, and making sure he is aware of my expectations and he shares what his are as well, parenting a young adult is kind of fun.
Remember the old adage of “I’m not your little friend?” I AM ABSOLUTELY BASKING IN BEING HIS FRIEND NOW!! He’s still respectful of my role as his mother, but the conversations have been soooo rewarding because they are genuine and transparent. I’d be a fool to think he tells me everything, but I have it on good authority that I get 90% of his life shared with me.
For my parents who are awaiting the freedom of parenting a college student, relax and let them live. Remember who you were when you were this age and transition your role to someone who can help navigate life vs a stern authority figure. That’s not what they need right now. They need to know the safety net is there for when they fail, because they are going to fail.
Be prepared for more transparency than you ask for and enjoy the opportunity to be transparent right back! This space is fun. He has unrealistic requests weekly, they all have to do with cash apping him something. Other than that, I make sure he knows I love him, I’m here for whatever he wants to explore (within reason and with a plan,) and his mental health is checked. MENTAL HEALTH IN COLLEGE IS A SLIPPERY SLOPE! Again, remember who you were at this age. You had no idea who you were, what you wanted or how to life! Yes, life is a verb in this context.
For the parents who can’t let go, GOOD LUCK! Be prepared for your child being timid and scared to be themselves because you want them to be a specific image and person that YOU envisioned. This won’t be helpful for relationship building and will, inevitably produce some levels of resentment. If you need a support group, I’m here. This is your time to live now too! This is your time to be who you are and want to be without the responsibility of a little person looming.
Enjoy this experience with them. Help them get to where they want to be as an adult and I can’t say this enough LET THEM LIVE, FAIL, AND GROW!!!! These young adult years are tender and purposed for their adult future. You can parent and be a friend, seriously. It will take time for you to accept, but you will love it here!!