You may think college is all books and booze, but it is so much more. The next few years away at school are sure to be some of the most momentous in your child's life.
There will be nights when she doesn't sleep, days when she subsists on protein bars alone and weeks when she doesn't shower—during which time she can gladly stay well away from you. She will also have the joy that comes from years spent gaining life experience and personal knowledge that have nothing at all to do with classrooms or books…or parental guidance.
College is a contained free fall in many ways, and the things you pick up along the way can last you a lifetime. Whether it's bad eating habits or good study habits, her peers will be your child's greatest teachers and role models during their time at school. They will spend 24 hours a day together, eating, sleeping, studying and partying with one another.
Though it is the approval of these friends and peers that your child will be most eager to achieve at the outset, you may be surprised to find that it is your approval she ultimately wants. Give her the affirmation she needs to be confident in the woman she is becoming. Recognize, though, that who she thinks she wants to be will change 17 times before she graduates. Do not judge, but gently guide your child as she selects those habits that will serve her best in the future. Give your child space to grow and in time she will find her way back to you again, but only after she's found a bit of herself, too.
Daphne Oz is the author of the national best-seller The Dorm Room Diet and The Dorm Room Diet Planner and creator of the Dorm Room Diet Workout DVD . A 2008 graduate of Princeton University, she was a featured speaker at the 2009 Aspen Institute's Aspen Health Forum, as well as the 2008 California Governor's Women's Conference, hosted by Maria Shriver. Daphne is the daughter of Lisa and Dr. Mehmet Oz, co-author of the best-sellers You: The Owner’s Manual, You: The Smart Patient, You: On a Diet, You: Staying Young and You: Being Beautiful . She has three younger siblings: Arabella, Zoe and Oliver. Daphne lives in New York City, where she is creating a webisode series to help young people learn to cook for themselves and is working on her next book.