A Parent's Role to Help Students Succeed

Published on Mar 03, 2017.
Here we are, another semester in full swing. Emotions are mixed as freshmen have returned to NNU for just their second semester and, while campus is more familiar than last semester, it may not feel like home yet. Sophomores may be trying to reassess their major and figure out what their summer will look like. Will they participate in an internship or obtain a job? Juniors are busy with ensuring they are going to graduate next year; planning out coursework, while still working and/or interning. Seniors, quite possibly have the most mixed emotions as they return to the place they have come to call home, yet they are well aware that in 2 short months they will be graduating and moving on to the next season of life… and that in and of itself can be terrifying and exciting all at once!
And that’s just the students! We know that these transitions affect the entire family. I want to take a moment to encourage you and remind you that you play a vital role in your student’s success! The things you do matter, even if your student does not affirm you. The prayers, the calls, the encouragement, it all matters! The older I get the more thankful I am for my parents. I do not know how much I thanked them in college (I am sure it wasn’t enough), but despite being very independent, the support and engagement of my parents meant the world to me. Some things to consider:

Pray for your student. Whether it’s a paper that may keep them up all night, or a campus activity they are involved in—it is appreciated! As your student continues to mature in their faith it will become more and more significant to know that you're praying for them.

Be interested and engaged. It means a lot when for students to know that parents are engaged enough to ask specific questions. “How was that group project?” “Did you get to meet with your professor?” “Are you enjoying your Interpersonal Relationships class?” This means you have to know what classes and projects they have going on and you won’t know all the time, but when your student shares, remember and follow up with them! It will speak volumes.

Listen to and encourage your student. Along the same lines as being engaged, your encouragement goes a long way. Sometimes your student may just need a listening ear and, despite how much you want to jump in, it may be best to let them sound it out. Other times your student needs to hear: “This too shall pass,” or “I am so proud of how you are handling this.” Each person is different and you know your student best!

Trust your student. This can be particularly hard for parents of younger students. Stay engaged, ask your student how things are going, but in that, trust your student to use the skills they have been refining their whole lives to seek out solutions and solve problems. If they come to you with an issue, ask, “What are you going to do about that?” Encourage them to discover and utilize campus resources (including their peers), chances are someone around them has dealt with the same thing!

—Susan Wheeler, NNU Parent Coordinator

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