For Parents and Family Members
Resources for parents and family at Lake Superior State University are available to help both you and your student. Some resources for family regarding your student’s adjustment to college and their overall wellbeing are listed below.
The mission of The Counseling Services is to promote student’s personal growth and development and to assist students in coping with personal difficulties so they can benefit and succeed from their university experience. Everyone experiences challenges from time to time that can be difficult to sort out or cope with alone. Counseling Services provides a safe, private and confidential place for students to talk about their concerns.
Parents and Family Members Play an Important Role in Adjustment to College
We believe that you, the parents, play an extremely important role in helping your student adjust to college and succeed. You can best support your son or daughter in their new ventures by offering encouragement, guidance, and listening carefully to their concerns. As a parent, you can help your student by encouraging them to trust in their own abilities and suggesting that they reach out to others when additional support is needed
College is a time for exploration and results cannot always be predicted, often leading to anxiety for both the student and the parent. Deciding to attend Lake Superior State University is itself an exploration and even the happiest student may at times feel homesick or doubt him or herself. This questioning and changing may, at times, seem to apply to every choice a student makes, from academic major to friends to how much contact they should have with their family. To the concerned parent or family member, this can sound like a cry for help, a personal rejection or perhaps the start of a problematic time period or crisis for the student.
Understanding what is truly happening will involve patience and careful listening on your part. Most often, the true purpose of a phone call is to vent frustration and fears, so the student feels heard and understood. Once this is accomplished, students usually feel relieved and ready to move forward. However, for parents, a distressed phone call is often only the beginning of a long night of worry, only to find out at the next day’s check-in that, from the student’s point of view, everything if fine.
Adjustment problems are a common and expected experience for most students, particularly for freshmen. Parents are usually the first to notice changes in their student's behavior, attitudes, or emotional stability that might indicate a problem. Talk with your student about your concerns. Let your student know that adjustment problems are common among college students and that Counseling Services can help.
Students do not need to reach a point of crisis to seek and benefit from counseling. Prolonged behavioral changes, such as loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, withdrawal from social activities, or avoidance of classes or other responsibilities might be signals that your student is experiencing more than an adjustment difficulty. Being prepared may help you distinguish between a problem and a crisis.
Referring Your Student for Counseling
The best way to refer your student for counseling is to encourage her or him to come by or call (906) 635-2752 Counseling Services to make an initial consultation appointment.
If your student is a client of Counseling Services, federal and state law prohibit us from acknowledging that your student has met with us or discussing your student’s situation in any way without specific written permission from your student. If you wish to follow-up with us after referring or discussing your student, please encourage your student to sign a written authorization.
In emergency situations, we may be contacted when Counseling Services is open. Counseling Services does not provide emergency services outside of our regular hours of operation. We urge the use of other resources, such as 911,the local hospital emergency room, LSSU Public Safety (906) 635-2100, Residence Life staff, and Hiawatha Behavioral Health Crises Services 24 hour Crises Intervention Services. Please review our link to Emergency Information for additional details.
For More Information
If you would like more information or you have a concern about your son or daughter’s development, we encourage you to call the Counseling Services for consultation at (906) 635-2752.
Resources for Family Members
Useful Articles for Parents
On-Line Resources for Family Members
- CollegeTipsForParents.org This website features much useful information and suggestions for Parents of College Students on a wide variety of topics. The site contains articles written by college parents and college students. They feature stories of their experiences, lessons learned, and useful tips & information for college parents.
- Letting Go: Tips for Parents of New College Students Short article with tips on many topics relevant to parents of students new to college.
- How Can I Help My Son Adjust to College? Brief article offering some answers to a parent’s common question..
- "Transitions: What You Should Tell Your Child Before College" – As students prepare to leave home and take a next step toward independence, they need your help with more than just the packing list. These tips from The Menninger Clinic might help you think through the "serious conversations" that could be very helpful...to you and to them.
- The Healthy Student – A Parent's Guide to Preparing Teens for the College Years. The Society for Adolescent Medicine has a wonderful resource for parents and guardians whose son or daughter is about to go off to college. "The Healthy Student – A Parent's Guide to Preparing Teens for the College Years" is available in English (pdf). It covers a range of issues, including the importance of talking with your student, independence and confidentiality, health insurance and health records, prescription medications and first aid supplies.
- Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention: The Parent Connection. The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention has many articles and resources for parents on the topics of drugs and alcohol and violence. Two of the biggest concerns parents have when they send their sons and daughters to college are whether they will be safe, and whether they will do well academically. Article on high risk behaviors and prevention.
Books for Parents of College Students
- Don't Tell Me What do Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Guide to the College Years, by Helen E. Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller, St. Martine's, 2000.
- When children leave for college, many parents feel uncertain about their shifting roles. By emphasizing the importance of being a mentor to your college student, this book shows parents how to influence their college students while still supporting their independence.
- When Kids Go to College: A Parents' Guide to Changing Relationships, by Barbara M. Newman and Philip Newman, Ohio State University Press, 1994.
- This book takes a practical approach to a variety of topics, including: identity formation, values development, career exploration, social relationships, sexuality, alcohol and drug abuse, romantic relationships, dorm life, personal freedom, depression, discrimination, and college bureaucracy.
- You're On Your Own (But I'm Here if You Need Me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years, by Majorie Savage, 2003.
- This book helps parents identify the boundaries between necessary involvement and respect for their child's independence. For nervous parents, this should be a reassuring and helpful book.
- Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years, 5th Edition, by Karen Coburn and Madge Treeger, Harper Collins, 2009.
- Letting Go leads parents through the period of transition that their student experiences between the junior year in high school and college graduation. The authors explain how to distinguish normal development stages from problems that may require parental or professional intervention.