Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone
Linfield College invests much time and energy in helping your student make the complicated transition to college life and beyond. We also understand that you, as a parent, are making an important transition as well. A number of departments on campus, including Residence Life, the Student Affairs division (Residence Life, Activities, Chaplain, Learning Support, Multicultural Programs, Career Development), and the Counseling Center can answer many of your questions (please see our Parents' Frequently Asked Questions for more information).
Here, we'd like to offer some perspective on a very broad question: "How can I best support my college student?"
I have found that the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it. ~Harry Truman
You may notice that your student has become more independent over the last few years. Most students continue to change while at Linfield, through interactions with new people and the new tasks and challenges they face. The literature on human development suggests that college is a time when young adults separate from their families, form a sense of self-identity, clarify their moral and ethical beliefs, establish intimate relationships, and choose a career goal. While these achievements are positive, the authors of Letting Go: A Parent's Guide to Today's College Experience suggest that these changes may generate feelings of dislocation and loss for both parents and students.
So, how can you as a parent help your student through this stage of development?
Selective ignorance, a cornerstone of child-rearing . . . Parents should sit tall in the saddle and look upon their troops with a noble and benevolent and extremely near-sighted gaze. ~Garrison Keillor
While your student is facing homesickness and residence hall living, you are managing the challenges of long-distance parenting. Seasoned college parents suggest some of the following strategies:
Who is mature enough for offspring before the offspring themselves arrive? The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults. ~ Peter Devries
Please access our Parent FAQs page or the links at the left side of this page for more information about Linfield College. For ideas about parenting a college student in general, we recommend the following books:
Bips, Linda L., Jessica Wallitsch and Kristina Wallitsch. Parenting College Freshmen: Consulting for Adulthood. Bloomington: Authorhouse, 2003.
Coburn, Karen Levine and Madge Lawrence Treeger. Letting Go: A Parent's Guide to Understanding the College Years, 4th edition. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2003.
Savage, Marjorie. You're On Your Own (but I'm Here if You Need Me). New York: Fireside, 2003.
For more information please contact Debbie Harmon '90, director of alumni and parent relations, by email or at 503-883-2547.