Your college freshman faces the stress of separating from his family and friends the moment you drop him off. As you start to prepare your teens academically, financially, and physically for college, remember to prepare him emotionally as well!
This time of year is marked with graduation celebrations, vacations, summer fun, and possibly/hopefully more relaxing days.
It may also be a time for incoming high school juniors and seniors to get serious about preparing for college.
With all the academic, financial, and physical preparation involved in preparing for the first year of college, it's easy to overlook or discount the emotional preparation.
Preparing Your Teens Emotionally for College
Within the first week of school, College freshmen immediately face the stress of separating from family and friends. They struggle with:
A need to belong
The responsibility of decisions and priorities
Social and academic pressures
This stress can lead to poor decisions, unhealthy friend groups, isolation, excessive socializing, focus on self over others, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, and misguided priorities.
With greater emotional intelligence, students will be able to engage in healthy and supportive relationships, navigate social and emotional stress and anxiety, and align their focus, decisions, and choices with what matters most.
Helping your teen to develop their emotional intelligence will help them:
Navigate set backs, failures, and disappointments
Experience less anxiety and feelings associated with depression
Studies have shown that parents of millennials commonly use a more hands-on approach to parenting.
I have heard one person describe this as the lawn mower parent. The lawn mower parent walks ahead of the teen, clearing a path that is free of obstacles, challenges, and snares.
While intentions are good, the lawn mower mows down the opportunities for teens to learn how to experience life on their own. It eliminates practicing how to advocate for themselves, handle disappointment, make decisions, manage conflict, and navigate emotions.
Providing opportunities for your high school student to master these skills while still in high school will serve them well their first year away at college.
What Exactly Is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?
Simply put, EQ is your ability to be smart with your feelings.
EQ is the ability to blend thoughts and feelings to make the best possible decision.
Tuning In: EQ requires that you tune into your own emotions and the automatic reactions you have to specific situations. When faced with peer pressure and the desire to belong, does your son make a choice for himself or cave willing to do anything to fit in.
Being Intentional: With greater self-awareness, EQ helps you to be intentional with your choices by first recognizing your options and considering how they help or take away from your desired outcome. When feeling overwhelmed, can your daughter navigate her emotion and consider her options?
Being Purposeful: EQ considers and recognizes how your decisions impact others. It includes understanding how your choices ripple outward, impacting those around you. It’s about increasing your empathy through connection and listening to others. And it’s about the ultimate impact you want to have…that larger purpose in life. When faced with a challenge, does your son consider the impact of his choices and how it might effect others?
Finally, emotional intelligence coaching is one way to help your teens grow in their emotional intelligence, and prepare for the transition into college. For more information, contact EQuip Studios here. Or check out the workshops we offer for parents and for students here.
About Kelli Schulte
Kelli is a Chicago-based consultant and coach helping individuals and organizations grow in emotional intelligence. With a natural curiosity for how people think and feel, she enjoys helping others increase self-awareness, build greater connections, and experience a healthier sense of well-being, in order to take positive steps forward.
In addition to being a wife and a mom of two young adults, she is also a certified coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF), a Preferred Partner with Six Seconds, Certified EQ Assessor and Practitioner, an EQ Area Network Leader with Six Seconds, a Panelist with the Six Seconds EQ Community Forum, and a regular contributor with 30Seconds.com.
Kelli’s combined experience working as a consultant with Fortune 100 organizations, and working with students and adults in church ministry gives her a unique coaching platform.