Mental health tips for parents of kids heading to college

Aug 31, 2022, 10:37 AM

SALT LAKE CITY — Dropping off a college freshman is a bittersweet moment. Your child’s world is about to change and so is yours, and that can be hard to take in for some of us.

For Healthy Mind Matters, an expert from the Huntsman Mental Health Institute offers some tips on how to survive this next phase of parenthood.

It’s a day Lisa Lamb has dreaded and embraced.

“I spent most of the morning crying, but I’ve pulled it together now.”

She’s dropping her daughter, Emma, off at the University of Utah.

“I’m moving her into her dorm,” Lamb said. “Freshman year. First time away from home.”

The moment happens in a flash. Lamb worries she overlooked something important.

“The concerns are always did you teach them enough? Are they prepared? And will they make good decisions?”

Dr. Torrence Wimbish is with the Huntsman Mental Health Institute and works closely with students at the University of Utah.

“Your role will change with your child, and your student will change,” he said.

He suggests parents do these three things when their child starts college.

First, let them struggle. Don’t jump in to solve every crisis.

“They’re going to fail at something and make mistakes and that’s OK,” Wimbish said.

Second, limit daily communication – this includes texts.

“Resist the urge to hover,” Wimbish said. “That’s a tough one for a lot of parents because you want to call every day and check up on them.”

Lamb agreed.

“It’s time to back away, which is the hardest thing a mother is asked to do, in my opinion,” she said.

Third, allow yourself time to be sad. Each day you’ll feel a different emotion. But over time, it gets easier.

“Focus on your life. Focus on a work project, whatever that might be. Focus on relationships, partnerships, marriages,” Wimbish said.

Lamb said she’s sad to leave her daughter behind, but she’s ready to let go.

“You raise them for this moment to be on their own and succeed and find their own path, but she’s very independent,” Lamb said. “She should be fantastic!”

Wimbish said it’s important to let kids know that you are there for them.

And if they need extra support, check with their schools and find out what resources are available on campus.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Healthy Mind Matters

Parent Kristen Pexton said the SHARP survey gave an insight into what's happening with her teenager...
Mike Anderson

How helpful is Utah’s SHARP survey? Parents have just days to give input

Utah parents have one more week to give their feedback on the State Board of Education's decision to pull its support for the Student Health and Risk Prevention survey, otherwise known as SHARP.
3 days ago
Jed Boal

Love Hard Foundation making positive difference in Utah teens’ mental health

The Love Hard Foundation was started in January to make a positive difference in the mental and emotional health of Utah teens. Each week, the nonprofit is getting more involved in schools and communities.
10 days ago
Carla Jones, center, was joined by her daughter and a friend at the Out of the Darkness Walk in Wes...
Debbie Worthen

‘We miss her’: Annual Out of the Darkness Walk helps raise awareness of suicide

A crowd of thousands, and nearly $250,000 raised — all for the fight against suicide at the annual Out of the Darkness Walk in West Jordan Saturday morning
20 days ago
Ashley Moser

New nationwide 988 suicide and crisis hotline sees success in Utah

The new three-digit hotline has seen a 35% increase in calls from the old 10-digit number year-to-year.
21 days ago
Dana Clemmer shares photos of her daughter Talyn with KSL's Ayanna Likens. (KSL TV)...
Ayanna Likens

Life’s Worth Living Foundation supports those struggling with mental health and loss survivors

TOOELE, Utah — The Life’s Worth Living Foundation in Tooele has provided support for those struggling with their mental health and supporting them through the grief of losing a loved one. The foundation supported Deborah Bush after losing her son Jayden to suicide in January of 2021. “It’s definitely not easy,” Bush said. Jayden was […]
22 days ago
Intermountain healthcare launched a new mental health resource that will visit children and teens i...
Ayanna Likens

A new free mental health resource in Utah will visit children in their moment of crisis

Intermountain Healthcare launched a new mental health resource for children and teens. The Stabilization Mobile Response unit (SMR) is designed to go to your home in a discreet way to help your child in crisis. The service is free.
22 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Mental health tips for parents of kids heading to college