GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - For parents with kids heading off to college, back to school season can be one of the saddest times of the year. But, it doesn't have to be.
It's not easy to deal with an empty nest, but there are ways to cope.
WZZM 13 spoke to clinical psychologist Dr. Matthew Clark of the Clark Institute and Calvin College Dean of Students John Witte to find out how students and their parents can make it through difficult transitions.
The first thing for parents to keep in mind is to stay positive.
"Think in your head, they're going to do well, they're going to be successful," Clark said.
"If you think positive, they're going to feel that. They're going to be more positive about the college experience also."
Both Clark and Witte agree that communication is important, but they advise students and parents not to overdo it.
"Call home once in awhile," Witte said.
"Check in with mom and dad, but also don't do that every day or every hour. Start to practice having a day away. And then maybe two days away. And start to make general contact, healthy contact with your parents, but not excessive."
Witte also says future college students should choose a school that fits them, so you can feel at home while you're away from home.
"Make a college choice based on the college that fits you well and what you want academically and with other things in campus life."
Other tips to keep in mind for parents:
- Remember, your kids still need you. They just need different things from you when they go to college.
- It's normal to be nervous or worried about your student going away to college
- If you want to have more personal communication with your child while they're away from home, consider trying Skype or FaceTime.
Other tips for students who feel home sick:
- Stay busy
- Join clubs or groups that interest you and make friends within those groups
- Join study groups with people in your classes
- Talk to your resident assistant about how you feel
- Take advantage of your school's mental health services
(© 2016 WZZM)