I think one of the hardest things for parents to do is to stay interested and involved without being overbearing. I remember getting phone calls from my parents while I was away at school. There would be weeks when I would get hourly checkups to see how my thesis was progressing, and I would snap at them to leave me alone! Get used to hearing things such as this, but please don't take it personally: It's not you, it's college. Then there would be weeks when I wouldn't hear from them at all, and these times were always very sad and lonely.
No matter how many friends you have around you, it is the most wonderful feeling to know that you have a loving family at home who cares for you unconditionally. Even though they might pretend they don't like it, everyone likes to get a phone call from home a few times a week so they know someone is there to listen.
- Call your child just to ask how she's doing, and see how she's feeling. A little sympathy goes a long way.
- Ask her if she needs help with anything. She might be too proud to ask for it, but you'll be surprised by the many things your child is struggling with if you just offer a helping hand.
- Remind her that you love her for who she is, but reward her with praise for things she have worked hard to achieve. It is important to know the value of perseverance and persistence and to be proud of excelling at something that didn't come naturally. There is no shame in outworking (rather than outsmarting) everybody else.
- Bond with your child by sharing stories from your college years. It is thrilling for us as children to hear what our parents were like long before we were even a twinkle in their eyes. Telling stories of your own misguided youth is also a great way to sneak in a few extra life lessons and spare your child the same humiliation you might have endured.