Sunday, March 18, 2012

College emotional/spiritual support

Full question: How did you emotionally/spiritually support your kids when they were in college?

Ideas:
Weekly phone calls, letters, email
Building a relationship so kids want to talk to you about anything and feel like they can
Lots of prayer
Family dinners and Family Home Evening with grown children
Siblings and good friends
Church school or other church support groups (Institute, etc.)

Rachel (and Bennett)
This is a hard question to answer.  I tried to keep communication lines open through phone calls and visits.   I wanted them to know I was interested in their activities, their friends, and their concerns.  This was a time when I knew they would make very important decisions in their lives, and I just prayed and hoped I had taught them what they needed to know, and instilled in them the values I wanted them to have.  At this time in their lives, my children really did not want any more counseling, so I prayed -- a lot.  I would say that parents should  LISTEN, LOVE, AND STAY INVOLVED IN THEIR LIVES,  AND PRAY!  Also, I would do more to encourage and even insist, if possible,  that they do well in their schooling.  I would emphasize the idea that we were making an investment in them, and we wanted to be happy with the return.  I would be more involved in helping them choose a major that would give them marketable skills, so they could earn a living when they graduate.

Melissa and Henry
Our children were given encouragement weekly in phone calls and letters. There wasn't e-mail until our last child was in school.  We loved to talk to them on the phone and they willingly talked to us about their classes and week.  They knew we cared about what they were doing. We shared what we were doing which included our work, church callings and  later being on a mission. We still are able to give that kind of support now that they are married, working, and raising a family. We believe you should always be available to them. It is a balancing act to make sure not too much advice is given out, unless asked.

Karen (and Lance)
Our children all went to BYU and had contact with each other. They were able to share a car. We wrote each week or phoned. We would try to uplift them if they had problems but all in all they were pretty self sufficient. The friends they had seemed to keep them content. We couldn't afford to run to their beck and call if they had a problem so they had to work it out for themselves. I think the college kept them spiritually fed also.

Marsha (and Richard)
Our children were raised to be independent.  I think they were pretty emotionally and spiritually mature by that time and college was a great opportunity for them to practice their independence and maturity.  That’s when it all was put to the test.  They had to decide how they would handle their challenges. We believe that going away from home to a church school is the ideal experience for a young adult.  It keeps them in a relatively safe environment while giving them the freedom to make choices on their own.  They really mature both emotionally and spiritually.

Our support mainly came from being their cheerleaders, listening to them as they shared their experiences and cheering them on, expressing our confidence in them.  They were making most of their own decisions by this time.  We were “consultants” as needed. 

We visited weekly on the phone (it was expensive in those days) and when we made a trip to Utah we spent time with them.  I wrote letters occasionally, I’m sure.  I’d have to say the emotional support came as they knew we loved them and had faith in them and trusted them.  They knew we were there for them if they needed us. The spiritual support came from the testimonies they had built while in the home which flourished as they only had the Lord to rely on. It was so rewarding to have them share their spiritual experiences with us.

Jane (and Samuel)
Four of our children lived at home while attending college before their missions.  We had family dinners at least once or twice a week - often very late dinners, but we ate together and talked around the table.  I think we expected them to make good choices and for the most part they did.  We encouraged them to go to institute and church.  The ones who went away to school we wrote to and called.  By the time they went to college we just expected them to make their own decisions.  Our first one to leave home was the only one to leave the church.  She was the one who had the strictest rules growing up and always bore her testimony and seemed the perfect Mormon girl.  Maybe we didn't do enough to keep her close once she left home or maybe we did too much before she left home.  She is still a part of the family even though she is not a part of the church.  We still hold on to the promise that our obedience and faith may one day be cause for her continued connection to our family eternally.

Mary (and Robert)
Basically the same way we supported them all through their lives.  We were there.  In our case the boys all stayed home for college and attended locally.  Our daughter went away to school so it was a little different.

With our daughter we called often.  Then as now, she talked to her daddy at least once a week.  They talked about roommates and boys.  They talked about plays and competition trips.  There were probably only one or two subjects that were taboo in talking with her daddy.  And that's where I came in.  If she was depressed or physically feeling badly she talked to mom.  Either one of us could take "buck up" duty.  If she was discouraged we both had the option of letting her know again she was our favorite. 

With the boys there were a few other opportunities to support them.  Besides being there to encourage and lead cheers, I could help them with homework; I can't count the number of papers I have typed and edited over their college years.  We also helped with studying for tests by quizzing them from their notes. 

As far as spiritual support, it seems that what they needed to stay spiritually strong during these busy and challenging times was long since offered to them.  It was their foundation in the gospel that saw each of them through their college years as they finalized their independence from Mom and Dad.  They each had had opportunities to serve others as they participated in family activities and mutual projects.  They were used to studying the scriptures regularly and it was a priority in their lives.  They looked to Institute and LDS fraternities for social interaction with peers who shared their values and goals.  Every one of them married before they completed their educations and they married strong, spiritual companions who also were reared virtually the same way. 

So I guess what I find is that we were giving them tools to be emotionally and spiritually strong for college from the time that they were very young until it really was time to go out on their own. 

Kenneth and Catherine
Our children lived at home while in college so they had no living expenses.  We allowed them the growth experience of paying their own tuition and school expenses which helped them develop independence.  So they had the support of family and have always been independent as they got married and had their families and purchased their own groceries and homes, etc.  We have a regular monthly gathering as a family and they sponsor at least one of those gatherings each year and we sponsor the other gatherings.

Barbara and Daniel
They were included in everything we did as a family.  We kept up on our communication and support.  When they were away we were very happy to see them when they came home.  We were still a family while they were in college. 

Next week's question:
What were your kids required to pay for when they were in middle school and high school? How did they earn/receive money before getting traditional jobs?

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