Preparing For College: An Emotional Checklist

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It all went by so fast and now you’re mere months away from sending your kid off to college. Mixed feelings of pride, dread, and even accomplishment flood your heart as you prepare to say goodbye to someone who was once just your little angel. Dealing with the quiet aftermath will drive you crazy. But right now, making sure they are also emotionally prepared for college will ease the transition.

Driving tips for new teen drivers, cautionary tales of drug use, and lessons about early pregnancy are incredibly important.But after hours of driving school, and some good old-fashioned stern conversations, you’ve done all you can on those ends. They’re now as equipped as they can ever be to face the bigger world, outside your umbrella. Or are they?

What most parents miss is that emotional readiness is as important as those things. A person who is emotionally well-rounded pretty much has tougher skin and can recover faster when they do get hurt. Good emotional health also places someone in a good position to succeed. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, happiness makes people successful and not the other way around.

Build Resiliency

Emotionally resilient people can handle the ups and downs of life well.

Promoting positive behavior through positive activities is one building block of resiliency. As a parent, the things you do together with your children can go a long way into shaping their optimism. Doing activities that you enjoy and that are good for you at the same time, can boost positive emotions. New discoveries also cultivate positivity in the unknown.

Confidence and problem solving go hand in hand. A person who is confident can stay calm when problems do arise. But confidence should not entirely be based on being able to solve any problem. The ability to accept failure can also be a sign of confidence, and a tool in becoming more resilient. Celebrate their successes with them and be there when they dissect failures. Encourage them to try new things.

Confidence can also manifest itself in refusing peer pressure. A confident teen should be able to resist when they think what they’re doing is not right. Teach them the importance of standing their ground and not feeling obligated to do what they don’t want to.

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Inspire Hope

According to a study by the University of California, Berkley, inspiring awe in teens can help them appreciate the bigger world around them. A sense of awe makes teens realize that they should not dwell on their smaller issues and learn to take some things in stride. When they begin to understand the grand scheme of life, some of the pressures they carry will begin to get lighter.

The bigger picture can also inspire your teens to think about where they would eventually want to fit in. Equip them with the tools to make their own judgment about how they see their lives. Help them to set their own goals and support their decisions.

Let Go

Sooner or later, regardless of whether you feel them ready or not, you’ll have to let go. Trust in the lessons you imparted and the tools you’ve provided. Most of all, trust in your child. They’ll forge their own path carrying your love with them. Good luck!