COLLEGE STUDENTS NEED PARENTAL SUPPORT MORE THAN EVER, SAYS COMMUNICATION ARTS & SCIENCES PROFESSOR TIMOTHY WORLEY.
“STUDIES HAVE SHOWN that when students leave home, their relationship with their parents changes. The pandemic created a new situation where college students accustomed to independence were suddenly told to head back home. We examined the relational turbulence of that situation to see how this ‘new normal’ changes traditional relationship patterns between students and parents.
“We surveyed a sample of college students who were enrolled in the spring semester and who, after returning home, were living with at least one parent. We asked them to describe their relationship with a parent, describe parental interference and how they adjusted to this, to measure the overall relational turbulence in the student-parent relationship. We also asked how much they reached out to their parents for emotional sup-port, and whether they felt they were getting the support they needed.
“Preliminary results show that the relationship between students at home from college and their parents can be turbulent. Students experiencing turbulence in their relationship with a parent are more likely to shut down and less likely to reach out to their parents for support. Unfortunately, it’s likely that this new normal will continue for cur-rent college students and for high school seniors starting college in the fall. Parents are also under stress, yet they must engage with their children, to give them the opportunity to proactively tell them exactly what support they need. Open communication is important for giving and getting the right kind of support.” —SI