Transition to college is certainly an exciting time filled with change. Yet for many individuals transitions can also be a time of great challenge. As parents of college-age students with disabilities we have grown accustomed to advocating for our children. How do we find the delicate balance which will allow our college-age children to create their own identities, make their own decisions, find their own support networks, self-advocate and learn from their mistakes while keeping lines of communication open? College students are at a stage of development where they are negotiating adult relationships with their parents. How can we stay involved yet allow our children to develop the independence boundary that is needed?
- Keep the lines of communication open so that your child knows that you are there.
- Learn to trust your child to make choices and to learn from their consequences.
- Listen and offer comfort when they are upset; don't minimize their concerns.
- Bring the problem up the next time you speak. Your child may have already resolved it.
At Clark University we hope to help foster a sense of independence and self-advocacy. Our relationship with your young adult is important to us. We are invested in their development and hope to become a part of the larger support network that they establish for themselves. A critical part of the development of our relationship is the sense of independence and confidentiality. For this reason we strongly encourage parents to talk about concerns directly with their children or to request a meeting in which we all participate.