Office of Student Life

Evolving Relationships

We know that for incoming freshman, communication with parents, families and supports is one of the largest protective factors and predictors of positive well-being. Having a plan on how to continue having meaningful communication while your relationships transform is really important. Their newfound freedom and independence create an opportunity to take a step forward with your relationship together. Here are a few tips for success:

  • Pick at least one day and time that you will chat when they move to campus, preferably on the weekend. Avoid scheduling too many days and times.
  • Create spaces for grateful conversations with young adults about hopes, dreams, fears, challenges and successes.
  • Realize that sometimes they don’t want a solution or advice to their challenge, they want a trusted place to vent. Be their safe place to be heard. Ask if they’d like feedback.
  • Be curious. Be open. Try to release all your assumptions about a particular situation, especially if it is your way to fix the situation.
  • Recognize and respect your differences, you can be healthy sounding boards for each other without judgment.
  • Be mindful of the new dynamics being created in your relationship. Try not to come off as pushy or nosey. You want your student to feel like honesty won’t lead to criticism.
  • Try sharing about your day and even asking for their advice sometimes. They are, after all, wise and intelligent enough to be accepted to The Ohio State University!
  • Try out your new roles before move-in day. Going from monitoring their actions to allowing them to share their experiences. This can help set the tone for when they move in.
  • Let them know that you are proud of them and their abilities to take on issues of importance and work through them in their own way.

You have raised them to be good human, curious, independent and self-sufficient. Embrace this new phase in your relationship. As they continue to mature into their late 20’s and 30’s and celebrate new successes and challenges in life there will be additional transitions with your relationship. Each phase is a privilege and triumph.