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Parents & Family

Restrain or React: Should Families Get Involved?

Failing a course, getting angered about a term paper grade or being upset with a BW policy-these stress-filled scenarios can lead to feelings of discouragement, disappointment and even disgruntlement for your student. It may be tempting to get involved, but should you?

With communication between family members being shared on a weekly if not daily basis, students straddle a relationship with both their families and college personnel.

At times, differing opinions, misunderstandings and frustrations can arise over grades, finance charges, registration issues, roommate disagreements or other facets of college life. As a caring family member, you may waver between wanting to help your student and trying to abstain so your student can learn to self-manage issues. How do you offer support while encouraging independence?

In truth, it is not always easy. Developing independence can be a learning experience for students and families alike as their relationship transforms throughout the college years.

Partners in Education

At BW, families are seen as partners in education who play an important role in the family-student-college relationship. Families are encouraged to regularly talk with their student about important issues. The following questions might help you decide what your level of involvement should be:

  • Am I concerned about a safety issue that could affect my student or others?

  • Do I have a question about financial aid or something that impacts me directly?

  • Has my student talked with the appropriate BW person or is my student immediately deferring to me to handle it?

  • Could my student's discouragement, disappointment or disgruntlement correspond to something that flared up quickly but will be forgotten tomorrow?

  • In talking with my student, do I feel my student is telling me everything or do we need a further discussion?

  • Is the information I seek protected by FERPA, HIPAA or other regulations? If so, what is the best way for me to talk with my student about this topic?

  • How can I best support my student? If I assist, am I limiting my student's ability to self-manage a situation? If I say nothing, could there be repercussions my student might be unaware of?

  • Did I visit the BW website to see if the information I seek is posted there or if there are BW resources I can direct my student to?