Friday, August 1, 2008

Preparing Your Senior for College

The month of August/September (depending on what part of the country you hail from) ushers in the end of the 2008-2009 school year, and seniors all over the nation are preparing to leave their sheltered existences in order to build their own lives. During the last few weeks of the school term, anxiety and excitement begin to kick in. As parents, you will experience similar symptoms, with the realization that although your child is about to finish high school, they are still not prepared to deal with the vicissitudes of life. It is hard for us to let go, but it is imperative that you allow your child to plan and organize their future. You must allow them to plan their futures with guidance and support from you of course. You can facilitate this by developing a checklist of essential topics that must be discussed. This sit down discussion can include anything from financial advice to sex and drugs, and health.

Talking to Your Child about Sex

As far as sex goes, a majority of college students will have sexual relationships in college, many for the first time. It is important that you open up the lines of communication on this topic, including the emotional, physical and psychological consequences of have sex before marriage. Most high schools seniors (even Christian ones) do not understand that when you have sex with someone, the parties involved become one flesh. This act was meant as a gift to married couples from god, and when you engage in sexual activity you are in essence uniting yourself with your partner in marriage. Also, in regards to the physical implications, you have to make sure that your children understand that STD’s do not discriminate. They are contracted by the saved and unsaved at equal rates.

Drugs and Alcohol
As a parent you may be relieved to know that the majority of college students don't abuse drugs or alcohol. Students of drug or alcohol addicted parents or family members are more likely to abuse illicit substances than any other group. Make sure that you talk to your child about the dangers of partying and drinking too much. Also, observe sudden changes in behavior, as they could be signs of alcohol or drug abuse. If you discover that your child does have a problem with drugs or alcohol, or both, do not attempt to handle the problem on your own, seek professional help.

The Freshman 15
For most of us, the Freshman 15 reared its ugly head. On the flipside of this mythical surety is the fact that some students actually lose weight during their freshman year. The true Freshman 15 is brought on by the lack of exercise or physical activities by incoming freshman. In fact, data from a recent ACHA survey showed that 30% of college students are overweight. Weight gain isn't the only issue, as some students (mostly female) will develop eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. A lot of campuses do offer support groups and counseling for these types of problems, and if you suspect your student has a problem, you can assist them to finding help.
Money Matters

During college, most teenagers open up their first bank account, and some may have had accounts during high school. If your child decides to become a part of this percentage, tell them to look for a student account that has no fees or minimum balance requirements. Teach them how to protect their accounts, check statements, balance their checkbooks, and keep copies of financial records before they go to school. Instill in your child the importance of paying their bills on time. Inform them that missing payments can adversely affect their credit rating, in addition to late fees, consequences most college students don't ponder.

The Importance of Attending Church
When you child goes off to college, will they continue to go to church? For some Christian teenagers, they only go to church because their parents force them to attend. When they go away to college, many students find themselves with the first true taste of freedom that they have ever enjoyed. Several Sundays rolls by, and they suddenly start sleeping in, instead of attending a house of worship. What do you do? Do you let them led their own lives? Give them a severe beat down? Or minister to them and reiterate the importance of fellowshipping with the saints. My advice would be to choose the latter.

When our children go off to college, the anxiety for both parties is at an all time high. It is important that you stay calm in order to set a good example for your graduating senior. In order to ensure that they will be successful in college, it is imperative that you have an in depth discussion about the aforementioned topics with them. As ancient old cliché goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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