UVA clinical psychologist offers advice to parents sending kids to college

UVA students walking around grounds
UVA students walking around grounds(wvir)
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 12:14 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The transition from parenting a child to being the parent of an adult can be hard, says UVA clinical psychologist Tim Davis. However, he says this developmental stage is crucial.

“We’re kind of predisposed and programmed to try to cut the path for our kids,” Davis said.

There can be a downside when bringing dependency into adulthood.

Annika Suh, a UVA student says, she called her mother every day for a month when she moved in last year.

“Part of giving students their opportunities to learn and grow and develop is by minimizing contact with them,” Davis said.

While big changes and fear of the unknown can lead to sadness, he mentioned the importance of self-awareness.

For parents, he says calling your kids excessively in college can be a reflection of separation anxiety and to work hard to channel the energy into other activities. When your student does call in times of need, use discernment to see if they truly need your help or simply want it.

This allows your teen to learn problem-solving on their own.

“It doesn’t mean that you’re never there when they’re truly in a crisis but we have to give them space in order to figure out what is a true crisis,” Davis said.

Davis says a few examples include allowing your kids to make their own schedule or create a budget.

“It is important that they chip in a little bit,” Davis said.

He says this will help your child become an appreciative adult and bring you peace, knowing they’ll be self-sufficient.

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