Welcome to the family, new Griffon parents! And welcome back, returning parents! No matter what year of school your student is entering in a few short weeks, they are embarking on an exciting journey! While it is important for you to spend time with your student before they return to Missouri Western in a few short weeks, it is also important that you let them have the independence that they desire and value the quality of time spent together, not necessarily the quantity. A strong foundation at home is important to a student’s success, but it is also important that they are given the room to learn, grow and survive independently. This may mean adjusting the limits you’re used to setting in your home. The student at home this summer is not the same kid that has been at home for 18 years, and you will both have a better relationship if they are treated like the adult they are becoming.


No matter what year your student is entering, remember to praise and support them. They are in an exciting period of their lives, but this exciting time can also be stressful and worrisome. Tell them you’re proud of them. Show them that you’re there for them and that they can do anything they set their mind to. After all, as a part of the Griffon family, they have the relationships they need to succeed!


Freshman parents:

You’ve helped your student learn, thrive and grow over the past 18 years. Now, they will be leaving the nest and making their own path in the world. How exciting! With your student leaving for college in a matter of weeks, you’ll want to spend as much of that time with them as possible; however, they probably have plans for how they want to spend this last month at home.


Anxious for their newly found freedom, your student may want to spend this time saying goodbye to their high school friends and preparing, both mentally and physically, for their new adventure! Show your student that you want to spend some time with them while respecting their new level of independence. Ask them what their plans are and work with them to set up some times to be together. Remember, quality over quantity. Spend a couple of hours helping them shop for residence hall room supplies and décor. Schedule a few more family dinners, but, respect their wishes when they inevitably want to hang out with their high school friends one more time before leaving. They may keep some of these friends, but they may not see them until next summer.


While it may not be intentional, your student may spend this last month at home pressing your buttons. They may do everything they can, subconsciously, to sabotage their relationship with you. This is completely normal. They are pushing you out of their lives in an attempt to make it easier to leave when the time comes, whether they realize it or not. Be patient with them. Be understanding of the situation they are in, and continue to support them the whole way.


Sophomore parents:

Your student has one year of college under their belt. They have a few more weeks at home and then they gear up for round two! This will be a different last month at home than you experienced between their senior and freshman years. They may be working at their old high school job to save up money for the next semester. They may be trying to spend time reconnecting with old high school friends or trying to set up the details of going back to their newly found college friends.


Ask them what their plans are for the next month, then, ask them what you could do together as a family. Is there a movie in theaters that they have wanted to see? Take them on a family date night. Maybe there is something that they love to do in your town that they won’t get to do when they come back to Missouri Western. Offer to do it with them. Remember, with all the reconnecting and planning ahead going on in their life right now, the quality of the time you spend with them surpasses the quantity of that time.


Junior and Senior parents:

Congratulations! Your student is more than halfway there! Just a short year or two and they will be sent into the real world to make a name for themselves! Over their last year of school, your student’s priorities have been shifting. They are transitioning from focusing on classes and friendships to focusing on securing an internship or job that will prepare them for the not-so-distant future.


Often, these internships and jobs do not end with the semester. If your student was able to come home this summer, great! Ask them about their schedule for the next month. If they have a job or internship, they will be kept pretty busy with that commitment, but, they may also want to catch up with old friends. Give them the time and independence to do both, and respect their schedule. If they say they are busy, they’re not lying! It can be hard to balance work, friends and being back home. Set up a time to do something fun with them. Set up a spa or relaxation day, or, just take them to a nice dinner and a movie. Let them know that being busy isn’t necessarily bad, but it is important to take some time to relax and unwind.


It may be the case, though, that your student was unable to come home for the summer. Missouri Western gives students opportunities for summer internships around the country! If your student was unable to come home for the summer, let them know you understand. They have adult priorities and commitments and you’re proud of them for sticking with it! If you can’t visit them, send a care package. You can still tell them you care and let them know that it is important to take time to relax and unwind. Send them a gift card to their favorite restaurant. Send them some movies and popcorn. A little act of kindness and an “I’m proud of you!” can go a long way at this time in their life.