Learning to be Independent
Heading off to university is as much a chance for students to learn to be independent as it is a chance for them to continue their formal education. However, if a student suddenly leaves home and has to do everything for himself without having any training to fall back on, the chance of him being successful is dramatically reduced. To help their student learn to be independent before leaving home, parents should help him gradually add tasks to his daily schedule throughout secondary school and at the same time give him greater freedom as the deadline for leaving for university approaches.
Moving OutStudents need to be as able to live an independent life as possible when they leave their parents homes and move into their own. Whether a student is moving out to live in the halls of residence or shared student housing, he must be involved in the moving process. Parents should not wash their hands of the move completely, but rather remain ready to help if or when needed. Helping students to fill out housing applications, gathering their possessions, pack their possessions, set up their new finances and physically move in to a new location are all actions that parents can take to help teach their children more about moving as an independent adult.
Living IndependentlyGoing to university is often the first time that a student finds himself facing complete independence. For some students this is an exhilarating time in which they can do what they want, when they want. For others this excitement is tinged with anxiety as they realise that they must now live independent of their family and take care of all their own problems. Parents who teach their children to cook, clean, do laundry, set up a budget, pay their bills and manage their time help their children make the most successful transition possible to living independent of the family. Similarly, students who are not above calling home for help when they find themselves confused or overwhelmed will give themselves the best chance of living an independent life as well.
Parents and Student IndependenceThough they know that logically their children will leave their houses at some point, many parents find themselves wanting to do more for their children before they leave for university. Parents who find themselves feeling this way must remember that they are not helping their students by doing things for them. Instead, parents should acknowledge that their students need to make their own mistakes and get a good handle on living with independence before leaving home and attempt to adjust their household routines accordingly.
Parents and students both need to make a concerted effort to become comfortable with a student’s imminent independence before he leaves for university and is faced with all of the tasks of living independently at once. By working together to become comfortable about independent living, moving successfully and taking care of all of the responsibilities of an independent adult, students and parents will both increase the chances of a successful separation.