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Parents Here’s Why You Should Be Texting Your College Freshman

posted: 05/07/18
by: Amanda Mushro
Father talking and spending time with his teenage son.
iStock

It can be a real struggle for parents to let their college kid have their freedom but also balance a parent's need to check in on their kids. But instead of waiting for your college kid to call you, go ahead and pick up that phone and send them a few texts because it will make you feel better and it might help your child be more successful.

According to a new study, parents who don't cut the "electrical umbilical cord" actually help their college freshman succeed. A communications professor wanted to find out if "helicopter parents" help or hurt freshman and found that on particularly difficult days, texts from mom and dayd made a big difference in the stress level of the college student.

"You get a lot of freedom that you've had before and sometimes that can be a little overwhelming," said Erin Ruppel, Asst. Professor of Communication who led the study. "I was surprised that talking on the phone, the phone calls didn't make a difference. It was all about the texting. Texting is what helps."

Ruppel noted these kids have grown up having easy access to quick communication with their parents--many of these kids have had cellphones since they were very young. So it makes sense that having this line of communication with their parents would help them. During the study, she found that 17 percent of the students in the study had low social skills and says there is a direct correlation between stress levels going up among these students and texting their parents during stressful times. However, students with strong social skills tended to pick up the phone for a quick chat with their parents when their stress levels rise.

So what can parents learn from this? Ruppel said do not assume this means parents need to fix their child's problems. Parent's just need to be there to support their child and offer words of encouragement.

The study also noted that students tend to text their mom more than their dad when they were feeling stressed. After all, mother knows best and let's be honest, moms are the best at offering up a sympathetic ear to their baby--no matter how old they are.