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Tips for Parents

ISU Counseling & Testing Service wants you to know that mental health is as important as physical health, but sometimes it's difficult to know where to begin the discussion. Check out this guide to Start The Conversation with your student. ISU Counseling & Testing Service offers free and confidential counseling services to enrolled ISU students. 

Keep in touch (but not too much) 

Students at all levels of their college experience like to stay connected with home. They also like to know that you are there if they need you. Send a quick text to wish them luck on a test, brighten their day with a photo or a link to local happenings, or email just to let them know you care.

Know that you are important
Students regularly cite parents among the greatest influences in their lives. At ISU, we recognize that you are a tremendous partner in helping your student reach their goals in college. Encourage your student, especially through the rough times. College can be discouraging and stressful at times, and to know they always have their parents’ support is essential to their success. We look to you to encourage your student to follow their intellectual passions, as well as to become an independent adult.

Let them choose
Your student wants to know that you believe in them. Let them make decisions, choose their own courses, and eventually choose a major. They may choose a major based on their intellectual passion, not based on which major is likely to earn the most money.

Let them solve problems
Your student may ask you to intervene in a problem situation. Resist the urge to handle them. Instead, serve as a consultant as your student learns to problem solve and communicate. Remind your student about the available campus resources and encourage their utilization of them.

Mistakes happen
Along their journey, your student will encounter road blocks and disappointments. Allow your student to make their own mistakes. Allow your student to try new things, stumble, fall, and pick themselves back up. Listen, ask questions, and offer supportLet them know that you are confident they can work through issues that may arise.

Help them learn the difference between disappointment and failure
At some point, your student will likely experience something they will label as a failure. Learning the difference between disappointment and failing is part of becoming an adult. Like you, we expect their best effort, not perfection.