I'm worried about my child, what can I do?
Sending a son or daughter away to college is a complicated process for many families. As with every life transition, parents want to be able to do what is best for their children. Parents often become concerned about their son or daughter's emotional functioning. The Wellness Center here at New England College is available to consult with parents who have concerns regarding their son or daughter. It is best to call and schedule a time to talk with one of our counselors- by phone or in person. You can reach the Counseling and Testing Center by calling 745-3159.
Issues commonly raised by parents are:
• Is this a normal, developmental process for a college student?
• How might the parent best support the student?
• How might the parent convince the student to seek professional help?
• If there is a basis for treating the student's condition as an "emergency" what steps should be taken?
• The counselor's assistance will be based on the description you provide, and on our extensive experience working with college students' emotional development. Our thoughts will NOT be based on information we have about your specific student. In fact, you probably will not be speaking to a counselor who has met your son or daughter (see "disclosure" below).
My child has been at school for a month and is miserable. What should I do?
Although most students are excited about starting college, the prospect of leaving behind the comfort and familiarity of high school friends and family members is frightening for some. The challenge of making new friends and creating a new social life can be daunting, particularly for the student who is shy.
What You Can Do To Help With Separation Anxiety:
• Listen to your son or daughter's concerns and take them seriously. Although separation anxiety does pass, the first few weeks can be intense. Your son or daughter may need a lot of support and reassurance.
• Encourage your son or daughter to get involved in clubs and other activities at school. To find out more about student clubs and activities, they can call the Office of Student Activities at 745-02459.
• Many NEC students enjoy volunteering in the numerous useful community projects in which the college is involved. If volunteering is appealing to your son or daughter, encourage them to stop by the Community Service Office.
• Let them know that they are always welcome at home, but encourage them not to come home every weekend. Help them to focus their attention and energy here at school.
• Encourage them to let others know that they are having a hard time, for example, the Resident Assistant who is assigned to their floor.
•If they continue to feel overwhelmed after the first few weeks of school, encourage them to make an appointment at the Counseling and Testing Center (745-3159). Generally after just a few sessions, students come to feel more comfortable at college.
I need to get information about my student's counseling sessions. Who can I talk with?
The student's assurance of privacy is one of the conditions that makes counseling effective. The Wellness Center is prohibited by law from disclosing anything about the student without explicit written permission from the student. This even applies to parents! Some students have signed a "waiver" allowing parents to talk to academic deans about the student's progress. That waiver does NOT apply to psychological counseling.
If you know that your son or daughter has seen one of our counselors and if you think it is important to talk to your student's counselor, PLEASE TELL THE STUDENT OF YOUR CONCERN, AND ASK THE STUDENT TO SIGN A RELEASE OF INFORMATION AT THE COUNSELING CENTER, which then allows us to discuss your son or daughter with you.
We are not even free to share with you whether your student has sought counseling, as even state law protects that information.
Exceptions to Confidentiality
When we believe that any student is in imminent danger, at risk of seriously harming him/herself or someone else, we will seek the student's permission to involve family members. If the student will not give permission, we are compelled to break confidentiality. In that case, we will contact the family.
If YOU have very worrisome information that we may not have, such as someone revealing to you that your son or daughter has made a suicide attempt, please call us and give us that information. In that unusual circumstance the priority is to protect the student, and the family's involvement is essential.
In summary, if you are a concerned parent, PLEASE CALL US! We will talk openly with you about the concerns you describe. If there is a confidentiality dilemma, we will work with you to determine what is best for the student.
College Parents of America
Higher Education Center: The Parent Connectionarent Connection