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Understanding Your Student's Development

Getting accustomed to your student's growing independence may take some adjusting to, both for you and for your student. It may be helpful for you to reflect on some of the many changes taking place for your student during this time of life. These include: 

Greater Independence

Students must learn to take care of themselves in important new ways, and they must be increasingly self-reliant while still depending on parents in many ways. Their need for support from family may alternate, seemingly unpredictably, with their need for distance. 

Developing Intimacy

Typically, students develop strong ties with peers, important intimate relationships with both friends and romantic partners, and greater self-awareness within relationships. 

Changing Family Roles

Within the family, students need to re-negotiate important aspects of their relationships, including family roles and boundaries. This last task is often the most difficult for students and their parents to navigate, and can be challenging when dealing with issues such as control and sharing of information. 

Intellectual Growth

College is a time of life in which students experience rapid intellectual growth, and explore different ideas, opinions, and ways of thinking. The student in your life may express thoughts and feelings that you strongly disagree with, or their intellectual development may spark related interests in you. 

Identity Development

Students at this age are exploring different facets of identity, and may experiment with different styles and behaviors. This is part of developing a sense of themselves as unique individuals with value and importance.