By: Denise Koslowsky
Well the hard part is over. Your child (who is not so little anymore) is celebrating years of work in the classroom and on the athletic field. They are celebrating friendships that have taken years to build and now they stand at the end of something big but at the beginning of something bigger.
As a parent, you stand proud of all they have accomplished, remembering all their precious growing up years and look forward to their future feeling….
Emotional? Of Course!
Worried? Well, that too.
Once your child graduates and turns 18, they are legally an adult and technically in charge of his or her own life. While you most likely know that to be true, in your head you may be wondering…
Are they ready for all that is sitting before them?
Will they be ok when they head off to college?
As a parent who has sent two boys off to college in the not so distant past, I’d like to offer you some you some thoughts.
First and foremost you need to know that once they turn 18, medically speaking health care providers are no longer authorized to give you details about the specifics of your child’s care unless you have the proper documentation in place. This is why it is so important for you to be designated as their Health Care Proxy. You can find out details from an informative blog we shared last year. You’ll find the link here and if you have any questions please give me a call. You should also be sure to have a HIPAA Release on file. The details regarding this form are also featured on the above link.
Second and perhaps more important is an unspoken topic, it’s about anxiety. When you watch your child who is smart, has it all together, the kind of kid that doesn’t cease to amaze you with their abilities it is really hard to imagine them feeling anxious once they are off to college, but it happens, often. I would go as far as to say that it is an American epidemic. In fact according to a report published by the US Department of Education only 50% of kids heading to college today go on to complete their Bachelor of Arts degree. That’s a heartbreaking statistic and you think it can never happen in your family but I think that is part of the problem. There is an undercurrent of young adults who struggle to get good grades once they get to college. Or maybe the issue is more of a social problem. Maybe they feel insecure because they do not get into the fraternity or sorority of choice, or maybe they see all their friends having a ball in social media posts and they feel their life can’t compete. Regardless of the cause, these kids start to suffer from terrible anxiety which can lead to depression and the worst part? We can’t see it. Sometimes they don’t let any of this onto their parents for fear of disappointing mom and dad. Sometimes it never occurs to them to let mom or dad know. And sadly sometimes, they don’t even realize they are depressed.
So what can you do? While it’s not as easy as filling out and filing a few forms, you can still take steps to make sure that the next step of your child’s future is one they are ready for. What you need to do is TALK TO THEM. Let them know that EVERYONE struggles and that is OK. Encourage them to ask for help. Their college campus has no shortage of people willing to help students who are struggling. Taking the time to talk with them and identify where to go for help will let them know that it’s ok to need help. Make sure they understand that professors have office hours for a reason. Most professors will go out of their way to help a student who reaches out for help. Look through the college or university’s website together and point out places to go for counseling, tutoring or clubs for kids who struggle in a particular area. BUT MOST OF ALL, make sure they know that no matter what, you will always be there for them. They don’t have to be a perfect kid, they are allowed to make mistakes, what matters most is what you do next!
Protecting your family is the most important part of what we do at Advocate Brokerage. If you have any questions or concerns about your coverage, please give us a call. We are here to make any necessary recommendations so you can have peace of mind and enjoy this special time in your teen’s life!