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Dear Mom and Dad

For Parents Weekend, advice from offspring

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Parents Weekend, three days of receptions, dinners, performances, concerts, tours, and athletic events, kicks off today. When it’s over, many parents will return home thinking about how their sons and daughters have changed and how to make the most of their relationships with their young adults. Here, then, is some advice from students that might be helpful.

Ask questions. The best way to show you care is to be interested and inquire about their new community and their life away from home. Every parent wants to give advice to their son or daughter, but the only way to make it valuable and relevant is to find out where your son or daughter needs help. I was shrinking my clothes and using fabric softener as detergent until my mom finally asked, “So, how is laundry going?”—Miles Greene (CAS’13)

Facebook social media icon

Get a Facebook account. Over the course of my freshman year, Facebook was the best way to keep my parents in the loop—and for them to share things with me—because it was something I was already in the habit of doing.—Molly Tobin (SAR’15) (Editor’s note: Don’t forget to become a fan of the Parents Program, too.)

Send care packages. They can really turn a gray day into a great day.—Dexter L. McCoy (COM’14)

care package, mail

Let go a little. BU provides us with a lot of incredible experiences, and we don’t have time to call every day. Don’t worry; we’ll call you and text you to let you know how much fun we’re having.—Rachel Ann Jensen (SED’14)

Keep in touch. The first few weeks at college can be overwhelming, and it can be easy for students to find their hands full and lose track of time. It may also be a good idea to discuss using ShareLink on the University’s Student Link to keep track of their meal plan, convenience points, and grades for the semester.—Kevin Flynn (CAS’14)

Nachos tex-mex mexican food

Take your student and his or her friends to Sunset Cantina for nachos. It’s always fun to meet other people’s parents, and Sunset’s nachos are the best. My personal favorite is the South of the Border nachos with BBQ pulled pork and extra guacamole.—Colin O’Neill (CGS’12, SED’14)

Give your son or daughter some space. College is a transition into adulthood and an opportunity to find independence. Trust your children’s judgment, be supportive (without solving their problems), and understand they will communicate with you at their own pace.—Alison Weltman (COM’13)

At the beginning of the semester, encourage your student to stay at BU every weekend. The first few weeks are when students gather in common rooms and form friendships; it is also the time when BU has the most free events.—Stephanie Dolce (SED’13)

college university academics, textbooks and laptop

Stay up-to-date on your student’s academic life. Give a call or send a text asking how an exam went or how a specific class is going. Having my parents there to understand what’s going on and provide input and advice is really great.—Crystal Shah (CAS’14, SED’14)

Make the first homecoming event special. When I came home for Thanksgiving, it was after the longest period of time I’d ever been away from home. My mom had gone to the grocery store and stocked up on my favorite foods so I could have those things I’d been craving after many dining hall meals. This simple gesture was the perfect amount of “We missed you!” without being over the top.—Molly Tobin (SAR’15)

Trust the work you’ve put into raising your child. By now they know right from wrong; for that, give yourself a pat on the back. Sure, they are going to hit some snags in the road, but isn’t that what the college experience is about—learning by experience?—Brandon Epstein (CGS’12, COM’14, CAS’14)

Register for Parents Weekend here. Find a complete list of Parents Weekend activities here. Parents may be particularly interested in a panel discussion today, Friday, October 19, titled Parenting During the College Years, at 3 p.m. in the George Sherman Union Conference Auditorium, second floor, 775 Commonwealth Ave. Parents can ask BU staff and administrators and fellow BU parents questions and get advice about parenting a college student.

A Parents Weekend information booth, in the George Sherman Union Ziskind Lounge, second floor, 775 Commonwealth Ave., will be open today, Friday, October 19, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and tomorrow, Saturday, October 20, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This story originally appeared in the fall 2012 edition of Parent.

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