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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

What Parents Can Do

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Educate yourself on what your son or daughter will experience in college and how you can help. Students tend to feel overwhelmed at the beginning of their college careers and during heavy test weeks. Being informed will help you understand your daughter or son’s concerns as well as show support for your student who is struggling.
Discuss your concerns with your son or daughter privately. Make sure both of you have enough time to focus on the discussion. Avoiding or not communicating your concerns is not likely to make the concerning behavior disappear. Also, be specific in your communication, and give your student time to respond.
Listen to your son or daughter’s concerns in a sensitive, caring, and nonjudgmental way. Be patient, understanding, and supportive.
Offer hope and suggest information on resources, such as friends, family, advisors, chaplains, physicians, and counselors. Also state your confidence in your daughter or son’s ability to cope and use such resources.
Avoid responses that tend to be critical or judgmental; such responses can drive your son or daughter away from you or from possible helpful resources. Also, resist the temptation to offer easy solutions or to solve your student’s concerns; instead, problem solve with your son or daughter regarding particular actions they may take to address their concerns.
Know your own limits and refer to professionals when necessary.  Your daughter or son may benefit from the services provided by the Counseling Center.  When referring to the Counseling Center:
  • Remind your student that our services are FREE and confidential
  • Suggest that your son or daughter seek counseling to help sort things out
  • Convey to your student that you are concerned about him or her
  • Encourage your son or daughter to "try it and see how it goes"
  • Remind your student that they owe it to themselves to seek help
  • Reassure your son or daughter that seeking help is a sign of strength and courage
  • Respond by contacting 911 if there is a concern about personal safety
Following a referral, it is important to check-in with your son or daughter; this conveys your interest and commitment to assist them in the process. Also, continue to provide support.
As parents, you may find consulting with a professional helpful. One viable option is to call the Counseling Center staff (507-389-1455) when you have questions or concerns about your daughter or son, or to obtain information about resources on and off campus. If you are uncertain with how to proceed, a counselor may help you determine various appropriate courses of action. Please know that if a student is being seen at the Counseling Center, due to confidentiality, counselors cannot discuss the specifics about a student, including whether or not the student has used the Counseling Center’s services.  Keep in mind that you cannot force your daughter or son to seek help.
If you have any questions require additional assistance, please call the Counseling Center at 507-389-1455 for a consultation.