Information for Parents

Please use the information below to help you in understanding how you can best support your child.

Understanding and Support

A student’s time at college can be an adjustment and transition for many parents and students. Here are a few tips:

  • Be a good listener.
  • Send care packages and cards.
  • Keep an open mind—your child is figuring out who they are.
  • Stay in touch but talk openly about how often your child wants to hear from you and vice versa.
  • Encourage your child to join activities and clubs on campus and make use of resources and support services.
  • Sometimes your child may not want advice or guidance—that doesn’t mean they won’t come to you in the future.
  • You may find yourself in the role of “consultant” as your child is learning how to make independent decisions.
  • Most often, students do not want to come home every weekend or call everyday and doing so may make adjustment more difficult. Set up a reasonable, agreed upon schedule.
  • Talk about money management and academic goals.
  • Be open to talking about the use of drugs and alcohol.
  • Keep in mind that even extremely bright and motivated students sometimes struggle.
  • Talk about how the family relationship is changing as your child moves towards independence and seek to make the most of it when you all are together.
  • Be open to talking about the use of drugs and alcohol.
  • Talk about how the relationship is changing but make the most of it when you all are together. 

Encouraging Independence

Over the last 10-15 years, institutions of higher education have noticed increased parental involvement in students’ affairs. Support from parents and guardians play a large role in the success of a college student; however, it is crucial to be supportive in the “right” way. That is, handling your child’s personal or academic conflict for them can be problematic.

If your student has a conflict with a roommate or professor, it may be a natural inclination for you to pick up the phone and resolve the problem yourself. Allowing your child to learn how to resolve conflicts in a mature, independent manner is extremely important for their development and well-being.

Encourage your child to resolve the conflict on their own and act more of a guide or consultant. This is a time in their lives where they need to feel supported and empowered to be an adult.

College is a time of many mixed emotions for a lot of parents. On one hand, you are excited about the experiences and growth that will be part of your student's time at Muhlenberg. On the other hand, you may be anxious about all of the unknowns that your student will encounter. Of course every student's and family's experience is going to be a bit different. Regardless of the experience, you can do some things that will help your student have a positive college experience.

Please review our confidentiality policy here.


We appreciate and understand that some parents or guardians want to be involved with their child seeks counseling. As a legally and ethically sound institution, our confidentiality policy does not permit us to speak with anyone regarding a student’s participating in counseling without the student’s written consent.

We cannot confirm or deny that a student has come to the Counseling Services for a counseling session or disclose the name of a counselor who might have seen the student. However, if you are concerned, you are welcome to contact Counseling Services at (484) 664-3178 and share your concerns with a staff member. We are able to discuss common issues of college-age students, services we provide, local providers, community resources and support. Please keep in mind that we are not able to reach out to a student and encourage them to come to counseling. Part of the therapeutic process involves the person taking responsibility for their well-being by taking the initiative to schedule an appointment.

Recommended Reading 

How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims, 2015.

Letting Go: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger, 2009. 

Parents' College Survival Guide: Planning and Paying for College by John S. Groleau and Layla Groleau, 2011. 

The Naked Roommate: For Parents Only: A Parent's Guide to the New College Experience by Harlan Cohen, 2012. 

Parents of College Students Survival Stories by Wendy David-Gaines, 2010. 

The UniversityParent Guide to Supporting Your Student's Freshman Year by UniversityParent and Sarah Schupp, 2014.

Secrets of a Financial Aid Pro: Master the College Funding Process and Give Your Child Lifelong Financial Skills Without Losing Your Cool by Judi Okun, 2016. 

Don't Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years by Helen E. Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller, 2011. 

You're On Your Own (But I'm Here If You Need Me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years by Marjorie Savage, 2009.

Parenting College Freshman: Consulting for Adulthood by Linda L. Bips, Jessica and Kristina Wallitsch, 2003.