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  • Staff Writer

How Can I Support My Student Who Will Be Living Independently for the First Time?

When your student is nearing college, it is normal to think about what their transition into living independently will be like. If your student struggles with their mental health, learning differences, neurodiversity, or executive functioning, the transition is likely to have more challenges. Fortunately, you as a parent are in a perfect position to support your student during this time of change in their lives. You know your student well and have seen what has been challenging. As a result, Northwest College Support believes that you can provide the right amount of support that will help your student smoothly transition into adulthood.

Challenges of Living Independently

As an adult, you may or may not remember what it was like when you started living independently. However, many skills are needed. When your student begins to live independently, they will be solely responsible for every aspect of their life. This includes their schedule, responsibilities, and self-care needs. While your student may already have some of these skills, those they already have will be needed without the support and structure that you and their teachers provide.

This transition, as a result, can be shocking for your student. If your student has struggled with certain aspects of high school, you may already know what they will have a hard time with. For example, if you consistently help your student in knowing what assignments are due, they are likely to have difficulty completing assignments on time in college. Additionally, things like paying bills also use the same skills.

Supporting Your Student Living Independently

The challenges that each student will face while living independently will be unique to the person. However, you can make a difference. Research has found that students that maintain more frequent communication with parents have less risk of high levels of blood alcohol content (BAC) and harm from drinking. Therefore, something as simple as communication with your student helps to keep them safe.

Additionally, Northwest College Support believes that you can help them beyond this simple step of communication. By helping them prepare with skills, supporting them, and getting them outside support as needed, you can make the transition into living independently easier for your student.

Preparing With Skills

There are many skills necessary for your student during this transition. They will learn some of these skills as they go, but preparation can help. When considering how to help your student prepare, it is important to consider what skills they need to learn. Living independently requires many different skills, including:

  • Time management

  • Emotional regulation

  • Communication skills

  • Self-care

  • Organization

  • Focus

These skills help your students to be able to live independently. This is due to the fact that they help them care for their needs. However, having these skills also helps them to succeed in college. You may look at this list and wonder how your student is going to gain these skills. As a parent, you can help them by preparing early.

When your student is in high school, you can encourage your student to learn these skills. Let's consider a skill like organization. The first step is to discuss what it means to be organized. Then you can help your student to incorporate a style of organization that works for them. There are many ways to do this. However, it is important that you work with your student. This helps them to take ownership of their organizational system, which will make it more likely for them to use it and make it work for them.

Support With Freedom

When your student is making the transition into living independently, they will have significantly more freedom than they have in the past. For many, this can be very exciting. As a parent, it can be challenging. You are accustomed to being in a position of nearly consistent support. However, your student needs to learn to live independently. In order to do that, they will need support with freedom.

Support with freedom means allowing your student to have the space to learn. They are likely going to make mistakes. When they do, they may come to you for support. If they do, you can provide support and care for them to take the next steps to solve the issue at hand.

Providing support while they are living independently can be a hard balance. However, simple things can make a big difference. Reaching out regularly to check in is one option. This helps them know that you are available but also allows them their freedom.

Getting Them Help

Another great option for many students is to get outside support. This can come in many forms. The Summer Program at Northwest College Support is a nine-week program located in Coeur d'Alene, ID. It can help our students to practice what it is going to be like living independently. Additionally, the program offers support and care that makes the eventual transition significantly easier. Remember, just because you are their parent does not mean you have to do it alone.

Transitioning into independent living is stressful for your student. As a parent, knowing how to support the process and help your student can be difficult. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can make the transition for your student smoother. At Northwest College Support, we believe that parents play a vital role in helping students do well in college and in living independently. We offer multiple programs including our Summer Program, which is a great way for students and parents to feel more confident in the transition into independent living. To learn more about our programs and how we can help you and your student, call us today at (877) 485-2776.

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