Back to School: Preparing Kids to Be on Their Own

Starting college and moving out of their parents’ home is a transitional landmark in every teen’s life. It is normal, even expected, that there will be stress during times of transition like this – but not all changes are bad or permanent. Allow your college students space to figure things out in their new environment.

To help your new college student start out on the right foot, encourage them to maintain or create a routine where possible. No matter what the routine is, some semblance of structure is helpful to ground them in times of change. Waking up around the same time, finding a study location, setting up regular social interactions and more can all help them settle into a new normal. Getting plugged into local clubs or interest groups can be a good way to meet people, as well as attending sporting events, concerts and interacting with fellow students from class. If they currently see a therapist or psychiatrist, make sure they keep up with regular appointments or help them find a local provider early on to keep things consistent if they move away.

As your teen gets acclimated it’s fine to check in on them to make sure they’re doing okay. Ask how they are doing and give them space to share what’s going on or if they need to talk things out. It is never “wrong” or a bad idea to seek help when someone is struggling during a transition. There doesn’t need to be a serious issue before seeking support. In Greensboro, the Cone Health Partial Hospitalization Program was created to give college students and young adults the tools and the space to work through life’s struggles as they learn to be on their own. If your college student in the Greensboro area experiences extreme struggle with this transition or an exacerbation of their mental health symptoms, the Partial Hospitalization Program could be helpful. To learn more call 336-832-9800.

Cone Health’s exceptional team of behavioral health specialists, pediatricians and related health care providers are dedicated to counseling parents and teens in the community who are struggling with the transition into independence.

Spokesperson Background:
Jenny Edminson, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker and counselor at Cone Health’s Behavioral Health Partial Hospitalization Program. She received a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies and English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She completed her Master’s of Social Work through the Joint Master of Social Work Program between North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.