Checking Out Your Student’s Friends
One of the most important factors in a student’s success in college is the students they become friends with. Why is this? The wrong friends can distract your student from the reason he/she is in college. Good friends can help with classes, personal issues, and create a sense of belonging.
Successful students will often say that their friends were the biggest contributor to their success. Failing students will talk about peer pressure from their friends to go out, ignore classes, and generally develop a cavalier attitude about their studies.
How do you check out your student’s friends?
1. Ask your student who he/she has gotten to know. It’s natural to want to know more about this person with respect to where they are from, their academic major, common interests with your student, etc.
2. Invite your student’s friends to your home for a weekend. Over a span of a weekend, you’ll develop a good sense of who your son/daughter has selected as friends.
3. When you are on campus, go out to dinner with your son/daughter and his/her friends. Again this should give you a good sense of who your son/daughter has selected as a friend.
4. Use social media to check out the friends your son/daughter has selected.
What should you do in advising your son/daughter about his/her friends?
1. Don’t dictate to your son/daughter who he/she should be friends with. This just won’t work, and it could have the opposite effect. Generally bad friends will reveal themselves through their selfish actions, their rude behavior, and through their actions. Let time work its magic.
2. Encourage you son/daughter to find friends in his/her major. The sooner they find friends who they can share both classes and good times with, the better they will be. Once your son/daughter finds these friends, the influence of prior friends will wane.
3. Don’t concern yourself about such factors as economic status, race, national origin, or sexual orientation in your son or daughter’s selection of friends. One of the benefits of college is when students join the human melting pot that is higher education today.
4. Don’t get jealous if your son/daughter wants to be with his/her friends more than they want to be with their family. That’s just a natural part of one’s moving on in life’s journey. Think back how this happened in your own experience with your parents. Start thinking of your son/daughter’s friends as part of your extended family.
5. If your son/daughter is very shy, you might need to guide him/her in developing friends. Refer that to the Topic: Overcoming Shyness.
You will be amazed by the bond that your son or daughter will develop with his/her college friends. These friends will often last for a lifetime..