Letting Go: A Hard Task for Parents

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Reporting in at the desk in the sallyport (entry way to the barracks)

Each year about this time I post this advice. The most important thing for parents to do before August is outlined below.
 
Sending a child to a military college adds an extra layer of anxiety for some parents. If your student has selected this road less traveled, they need to be the ones to carry to responsibility of getting prepared. That includes keeping up with assessments and assignments, physical training, etc.
 
Most families do need to be involved with purchasing the items they will need since the student doesn’t usually have the finances without parental support. Even with purchases, it should be the student to decide what brand/style to buy.
The 2022 parent Facebook group is to help answer general questions, and to refer you to the proper office or contact on campus. Your primary resource for questions about things on campus should be the school website and staff. Use the search window to find answers to your questions. The admissions office and commandant’s office are both great resources. Once your student reports there is a parent liaison on campus to help answer your general questions/concerns and ombudspersons are confidential resources.
 
The most important task for parents is to step back and let your student take the lead in preparations. This is such a consistent issue with new parents, it is addressed in several blog posts here, just put “letting go” in the blog search window to read previous posts. I’ve posted a link to some of them below.
 
If you are used to being in touch via text, computer, or phone throughout the day, start now to cut back on your communication. If you don’t it will be extra hard for you when they are without their cell phones and computers the first 7+ days after they report.
Your student will be the one to have to deal with the consequences of their decisions. The entire system at The Citadel is based on taking personal responsibility for your actions or inaction, and learning how to pull together with your classmates. There are rewards and consequences that are enforced. To read about the 4th Class System and leadership training visit the page of the Office of Assistant Commandant for Leadership Programs
A parent is not doing their student a favor by doing all their prep work for them. In fact you are doing them a disservice. If you are the parent who helped your student keep up with their assignments through high school, they may not have learned time management, or good study habits. Begin letting go now before they report. Start with letting your student keep up with the assessments and list of items to pack, once it is published. If they get to campus and don’t have an item the cadet store has all the essentials plus extras.
Many, many students and their parents are well prepared for the 4th class system. Those families will have other challenges this next year. Like other aspects of life, each student is on their own path.
Parents: Step away from the new parent Facebook group and the school website and just check in once a week. There is a tendency for nervous parents to check in every day, throughout the day. That is not healthy. Let your student be the one to keep up with the preparations like their physical fitness and checking their email and the school website for updates.
Parents, your biggest task the next several weeks is to enjoy time with your student and family before they report
Previous posts about Letting go:
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