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20 Tips for the Families of All Students


  1. If you were puzzled by your children in high school, you will certainly be confused by them when they are in college; if you were not puzzled by your children in high school, you are in for a real experience while they are in college.
  2. Be prepared for differences in your relationship with your son or daughter.
  3. Home visits will be very different than when the student lived at home.
  4. Learn to let go. They are making their own way and will make mistakes.
  5. If your student is living at home while in college, learn to let go and make sure you give your student his or her own time and space.
  6. Learn to listen to your son or daughter. Try to understand their point of view, even if it changes back and forth right before your eyes.
  7. Talk to and with your son or daughter, not at him or her. Afford your children the same respect that you expect and require from them.
  8. When your student calls home unexpectedly and in a panic, don't panic yourself. Give it a day and call back.
  9. Keep your son or daughter informed of happenings at home. And, if there are problems at home, assure your child that it is not his or her fault, or that being away from home did not contribute to the problems.
  10. During the first year or two, try not to press your student about what he or she is going to do after college or with the rest of his or her life.
  11. If your son or daughter decides to change majors, be supportive and helpful. Recommend that your student makes the most informed decision possible, using all manner of resources at his or her disposal.
  12. If your student stops or wants to change schools, talk to, assure, compliment, and help him or her make the most informed decision.
  13. Please do not compete with your student or have your student compete with his or her peers.
  14. Don't blame the University for your student's behavior, and we at the University will try not to blame you for your student's behavior.
  15. Keep in touch. Write your child a letter or send a funny card when least expected or for no reason at all. Email, if you have it, is wonderful.
  16. If at all possible, visit your son or daughter during Family Weekend. Enjoy the opportunity to experience your student's life at the university.
  17. If you intend to visit campus, let your student know you are coming. Surprises can work both ways, and usually not for the better.
  18. Understand the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), also know as the Buckley Amendment, and its impact.
  19. If you have questions, need information, or are confused, call the Counseling Center at (352) 392-1575 and let us help you get the information you are seeking. Refer your student to staff and resources at the University of Florida.
  20. Working together-student, parents, family, staff, and faculty-we can achieve and accomplish the most out of a University of Florida education for everyone involved.

Note: The list above was adapted from "20 Items I Wish I Could Discuss with the Families of All Students" by Michael J. Kiphart, Executive Associate Director, Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and is used with permission.
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Counseling and Wellness Center
3190 Radio Road, PO Box 112662
Gainesville, FL 32611-2662
Phone: (352) 392-1575
Fax: (352) 392-8452 

Office Hours:  Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm

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