It's back-to-school season, and for the first time your little one may be preparing to forgo the comfort of home-cooked meals, familial support and a live-in maid (mom) in exchange for communal bathrooms, grueling all-nighters and beer.

Yes, college has arrived. And with it, a whole slew of new parental dilemmas you never dreamed would sneak up on you so fast. Oh, for the diaper days.
Your little one may no longer be so little—I was looking down at my own mother by age 15—but you may not feel ready to set her free. Have you taught her everything she'll need to know? Can you protect her from the dangers lurking outside the safe haven you have created? Is she really ready to take on the world? The answer to each of these questions is probably no. And this is not a bad thing.

As a recent graduate of Princeton University , it was a good thing that I learned a few of these lessons during college.

The independence that comes from being in college is crucial for the transition between the steadfast stewardship of the home and the caustic reality of the real world. Without it, so many grads like myself might never have mustered the courage to escape the nest and strike out on our own. Likewise, college is as much a learning experience for you, our parents, as it is for us. Let's begin your education.

Lesson 1: She is still a kid


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