When a friend of mine got in touch with me recently about how to best communicate with her teenage daughter who is all set to enter college life, my first reaction was 'have patience'. Every young person has a personality, his/her individuality. One needs to sit down and advise him/ her on how to deal with the brave new world of freedom that university life ushers in, handle the emotional changes they undergo and the tough decisions they need to take with regard to their choice of college and behaviour patterns.
As an educationist and counsellor, I tend to put myself in their shoes.
My advice to parents is that they've done a lot for their children - brought them up and instilled values into them. The most important thing for them to do now is to be their friend and guide. Start thinking about them as independent individuals. As a parent your primary role is to channelise positive communication about the issues that they find it hard to answer. Try and make them understand that it is the course that matters in the long run rather than the college brand.
This is where parents often end up blocking the channels of communication and adding to the emotional vacuum that young adults often feel. Parents need to understand that there will be a change in perception and behaviour patterns of these youngsters. Unless and until they are open to let them experiment with their lives, they will not grow up to be responsible adults.
Last but not least, parents should stop playing the role of a regulator and be more of a friend.
They should just leave them alone to take their own decisions and make a mark in life.
The author is Managing Director, Chuckkle.com