Sending Child to College

Gina - posted on 05/01/2011 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My daughters friends went off to college this year. She still has another year of high school. She visited her friends at their campus and was overwhelmed by the changes in them in just six months. Once shy, sweet, responsible girls were now drinking excessively, getting poor grades and a few have become quite promiscuous. She called me several times while she was visiting them begging me to drive the few hours and pick her up. Now she is considering never going away to school. I am o.k. with that but I worry that she will be missing out on life experiences if she stays at home. I certainly don't want her to follow in the path of her friends but I worry that she will regret staying home. Does anyone have any experience with this? Do all these girls away at college completely lose their morals? Is it just part of growing up? I stayed at home while I went to college and didn't feel I missed out on anything but everyone I talk to says that it is an important part of life. I can't help thinking though that maybe these girls are just too young to handle being away.

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No, not everyone, but I find the more tame they were in highschool, the more they go wild in college. Basically, their parents have set their limits for them for their entire lives, and they have conformed to those limits; college is their first taste of total freedom, but they do not know how to set their own limits, so they go over wild.

It is a good sign that your daughter did not approve of the behavior and just follow along. You have likely given her opportunities throughout her childhood to make her own choices, set her own limits, and thus, when she goes off to college, she will know when to stop herself.

That said, if she wants to stay home, it is not that big a deal, what about staying home for the first 2 years, then moving out for the rest? You can let her live at home, but widen her boundaries--no more curfew, don't make her tell you where she is all the time, etc.--that way, she can get used to having the freedom she will have in college, but still have you there as a safety net.

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Yes, moving away to live at college does change people-sometimes for the best, sometimes for the worst. Kids that have grown up in a restrictive household are exploring their new-found freedom without hovering parents. It's part of the challenges of discovering yourself at college. Are all kids liek this? Oh no! Do kids have to discover for themselves right from wrong? Sure! I partied it up for 2 years and earned less-than-stellar grades. But I don't regret my college experiences. Once I was done with my partying stage I moved back home, made Dean's list, and started to date my 'boyfriend' (almost 18 years ago now!) What you may want to do is visit several college campuses with your daughter-not just during the day, but also in the evening. Go and explore what the college nightlife is like, and see if this is something your daughter is even remotely interested in. I teach high school in a small-town semi-rural area, kids are bored. They thrive in going just 45 minutes away to the local big state university. Yes, some lose themselves, but not all. It's nice to hear that your daughter did not like what she saw. But ultimately, going to college is a rite of passage that tests choices and decision-making. All the veyr best to you both :-)

Kerri - posted on 05/01/2011

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My husband and I are divided on the topic. He wants to keep our daughter close to home. I think she should have the experience of being responsible for her own needs, such as setting priorities, balancing a budget, time management, laundry, food and housing. I don't think all girls lose their morals when they leave home, many can lose them while staying at home. That your daughter was put-off by what she saw was a pretty good sign. By the way, I think the child should get a pretty strong vote as to where she goes to school. It's her life!

Jacklyn - posted on 05/01/2011

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not every person loses their morals when they go away to college... I lived at college 2 years out of my time there and i never got caught up in the drinking and partying that can go on in college. But really it is her choice to go away to college do force her to, she just might not be ready to leave home, who knows she may start next year and meet some friends and decide to stay on campus for her second year

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