The college years can present unique challenges for students and their parents. Below you will find information about...
For your daughter or son, college will likely be a period of intellectual stimulation and growth, career exploration and development, increased autonomy, self-exploration and discovery, and social involvement. During this period, your student may forge new identities or seek to clarify their values and beliefs. This may require an examination of self, friends, and family. It may also be a time for exploration and experimentation, and a period in which your children may question or challenge the values you hold dear. The changes your student may experience can occur quickly, as they begin to develop new peer relationships, gain competence in new areas, and learn to manage independence. It is important to recognize that every young person will experience his or her own unique challenges and adjustments, just as every parent will have different expectations for and reaction to their student's college experience.
Often overlooked is the fact that the college experience is a significant transition for the parents of college students, too. As parents, you may experience feelings of happiness, excitement, and pride when your daughter or son leaves for college. At the same time, you may feel a sense of sadness and pain and have many understandable fears and concerns about your son or daughter's future and well-being. You may worry about your children's safety and ability to care effectively for themselves. You may fear "losing" your children as they begin to function more independently and forms deep attachments with peers. You may be concerned about how your student will deal with alcohol, drugs, and sexual relationships. You may also wonder how your student's performance in college will reflect on you as the parent. It may be comforting to know that most parents and students report increased closeness as well as increased independence as the senior year approaches.
The Counseling Service provides free, confidential services for Gettysburg students, including individual and group counseling; walk-in consultations; emergency psychological services; and psycho-educational outreach programming.
Students seek counseling for a variety of reasons, including relationship concerns, difficulties with roommates, loneliness, isolation, emotional difficulties including depression and anxiety, eating problems, and identity issues. Normally these problems are relatively temporary and students recover fairly quickly; however, if the intensity or persistence of any of the problems makes it hard for your student to function effectively, or if your student is experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, it is advisable to encourage your student to come to the Counseling Service right away. It usually works best to allow your son or daughter to take the initiative in accessing our services-if you are the one who calls and makes an appointment, your son or daughter may be less likely to follow through.
The staff of the Counseling Service accepts phone calls from parents who may fear that their student is undergoing emotional difficulties. It is difficult being at a distance and knowing that a son or daughter is in distress. The staff would like to be supportive and will listen to a parent's concerns. A parent may offer information that could be invaluable to a student's treatment
At the same time, the Counseling Service staff must adhere to professional ethical standards and to state and local laws relating to confidentiality. These standards and laws prevent us from speaking with concerned parents about their student's contact with the Service unless we have the student's written permission to do so. Consequently, if a son or daughter were to tell a parent that he or she is seeing a counselor and the parent would like to be able to talk to the counselor, the student must sign a release of information that will enable the staff to discuss the situation with the parent. If you need to talk to us, we are available at 717-337-6960
While the Counseling Services provides confidential care to students who request our services, the office of College Life or the Academic Advising Office is able to reach out to students who may be in need. Parents who would like someone to check up on their son or daughter should contact either of those two offices for assistance.
Don't Tell Me What To Do: Just Send Money, by Helen Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller (2000).
When Your Kid Goes To College: A Parent's Survival Guide, by Carol Barkin (1999).
Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years, by Karen Levin Coburn & Madge Lawrence Treeger(1997).