What to do if:

  1. Your child is homesick. During the first week, two weeks, month, few months, it is not uncommon for some students to call and want to come home. Transition to college is not always easy. For most, a friendly, empathic voice and someone to listen is all that is needed. You might want to arrange, with your child, a system for calling home and keeping in touch. Some students may need a weekend home for refueling; to touch base, eat a good meal, get some sleep in his/her own bed. Some need to know that their parents will be open-minded about talking about change, perhaps after the first semester. Foe exceptional cases, the Dean and/or a Counselor, in conjunction with the student and parents, may work out a suitable arrangement. Most young people will separate from their parents in their own way and at their own pace.
  2. If your student needs someone to talk to during the night, s/he can call the Contact We Care at 908-232-2880. CONTACT We Care offers hope and compassion through their caring & crisis hotline. All services are provided by volunteers who devote themselves to preventing suicide and other self-destructive behavior by listening actively and empathetically to people in distress, offering them emotional support without judgment. If you child prefers to communicate via text message, they can text ”CWC” to 839863 on M, W, F 4:00pm-10:00pm.
  3. Your child decides to leave school. Most will separate in their own way and at their own pace, but some may need more time at home and/or the help of a therapist/counselor. The best thing to do in this situation is to keep an open mind, don’t catastrophize. Explore options with your young person and outline a plan for when s/he is at home and for the future.
  4. Your child “hates” his/her roommate. Having a roommate is like an arranged marriage. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. When it does, your offspring will have a companion, someone to have meals with, someone to confide in, someone to help with the first month’s loneliness. When it’s bad, it can be really, really bad. When your offspring complain (and they will), you will want to listen with a sympathetic ear and you might offer suggestions, but it would be helpful to let your young person know that you have confidence in their ability to problem solve. Your young person can work it out with the roommate, speak to his/her RA, talk with a Dean, or explore ways of handling the situation through the Counseling Center.
  5. Something serious happens. Frequently, young people will call home complaining of “depression” and “anxiety”. The symptoms that your offspring describes and the situational factors involved will determine the seriousness of the problem. Most of the time, students are able to cope and work things out for themselves, with a helping ear from mom and/or dad, and sometimes with a counselor. But there are occasions when, depending on what your child is reporting that direct action must be taken. If, for example, your offspring “hints” or says outright, “I think I’m going to hurt or kill myself,” it is important for the student to get immediate help. Parents can have the student call the Dean, Counseling and Psychological Services, or (if it’s the middle of the night) their RA or RD.

Students also have “Big Brothers and Sisters” (OC) that they might feel comfortable talking with. If the student is reluctant to contact the Dean or Counseling and Psychological Services, parents can tell their student that they will make the call and we will contact your offspring. If you call, we will reach out to your student and have him/her come in to talk with a counselor. Your student will be informed that you called and that you were very concerned for their safety.

If your child reports having an eating disorder, a drinking problem, or of being sexually assaulted (all of which are hard and sometimes traumatic for parents to hear), it is usually helpful to the student if his/her parents can listen, not judge, and be patient, understanding, and supportive. In any of these situations, parents can encourage their offspring to contact Counseling and Psychological Services.

Summary

Stay in contact with your offspring. Family and parental support is very important. Email and text-messaging is useful as a supplement to voice communications. Hearing your voice with a phone call or video chat is crucial to help your child feel your presence and support.

Don’t go behind your offspring’s back if there is a problem. Encourage your young adult to contact resources on campus. If you choose to contact, tell your offspring first.

Allow your young adult to work out their own problems and schedules and make their own decisions. Suggestions can be offered and encouragement given, but by allowing your offspring the opportunity to make their own choices, you indicate to them that you believe them to be adult, responsible, and capable.

It’s your thoughts that count. No matter what the problem, there is a solution or goal. Catastrophizing will do you in.

Psychological problems are usually of a developmental and/or situational nature, which we all experience. Most are remedied with a helping ear. Some need more help sorting out than others.

Severe psychological problems do occur and should not be ignored. There is help, here, for you and for your offspring, if such happens.

Going through orientation with flexibility, taking cues from your child, you will feel the deep satisfaction of having shared an important passage.

Important Numbers

  • Drew University Public Safety Emergency On Campus: 973-408-4444
  • Dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs: Sara Waldron, 973-408-3390
  • Counseling and Psychological Services: 973-408-3398
  • Drew University Public Safety:  973-408-3379
  • Drew University Health Service:  973-408-3414
  • Contact We Care Helpline: (908) 232-2880 any time
  •  Contact We CareText: “CWC” to 839863 on M, W, F 4:00pm-10:00pm
  • Morristown Memorial Hospital Helpline: 973-540-0100