Parents play an important role in a child's college success, but it is different from the one they played in high school. "Support your child," says coach Sleeper-Triplett, "but don't jump in to fix problems. If your son doesn't get along with his roommate, be a sounding board, not a problem-solver. Ask him to come up with potential solutions, and subtly steer him toward the most effective option. If your child is in a real bind, step up your involvement: Don't solve the problem for him, but be supportive and available to talk it over. You might also call your child's advisor, in confidence, and suggest that he have a one-on-one with him."
A friend of mine was glad she encouraged her son's independence in high school. "In freshman year, I would sit by him late into the night when he wrote papers," she says. "But I did less and less as time went on. By the time senior year came around, I did hardly any handholding." Now that her son is in college, she answers questions and gives guidance without doing his work. He is flourishing.
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