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University of Connecticut Division of Student Affairs

Parent & Family Resources

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Tips for Communicating with Your Student

Below you will find books and resources that discuss the transition issues faced by many parents and families of traditional college students. We have developed this list in an effort to partner with parents and families and support the variety of concerns or questions families may have as their student develops through the stages of late adolescence and early adulthood. As new research and literature is released, we will review and update these sources accordingly.

  • Listen.
  • Ask open-ended questions.
    • Discuss issues without lecturing or telling.
    • Let your student lead conversations.
  • Avoid phrases like “How did this happen?” or “How could you?”
  • When your student calls with a problem, try to avoid jumping in and solving it for them. Instead, listen to their dilemma. Talk through it with them. Take advantage of such opportunities by encouraging them to consider the alternatives and think about what their gut instinct is saying.
  • Acknowledge their feelings of doubt, depression, and homesickness.
  • Focus on fostering independence by offering resources for your student to make their own decisions.
  • Have realistic expectations.
    • Don't be surprised if questions are not answered as quickly as you may like.
  • Be interested, not intrusive.
  • Ask what your student is learning in class rather than focusing on grades.
  • Share what is happening at home. Not only will this help your student still feel connected, but it will provide balance to conversations.
  • Avoid drilling your student with questions. Instead, ask what they are getting involved in or what interests them so far.
  • Discuss expectations about family participation and involvement for students living at home. Parents and students may have different expectations about what home life will be like. The same type of communication is important for residence students who move home or return home for the summer.
  • Try to keep an open mind to new ideas your student may discuss that challenge your own perceptions about society and world issues. These thoughtful discussions will help to bring your relationship with your student into the new adult phase.

Information on this page has been provided by the UConn's Counseling and Mental Health Services and adapted from Don’t Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money by H. E. Johnson & C. Schelhas-Miller.


Departments in the Division of Student Affairs