So nice to hear from someone who recently went through this big transition. She shares what helped her the most when it was time to go. Written by my Summer intern Karley Knight who spent the first half of her summer studying abroad in Ireland and the second half helping me get more “put together.” She offers parents a few hints as to what your budding college freshman really need from you as they get closer to move in day.
Consider two fruits- apples and bananas. They’re both fruits, nutritional, and have the same goal- to fulfill hunger. However, they differ in crucial ways. They’re different colors, taste differently, have different benefits, and so on. Compare the similarities and differences of apples and bananas to high school and college. Both high school and college are forms of schooling, have the same goal of educating students, and so on. However, they also have defining differences that make them seem like two completely different concepts.
Almost every high schooler can’t wait until they can finally escape the immaturity and monotony of high school to flee to the magical idea of college. They’ve enviously eyed college students and their wild parties, autonomy, and seemingly glamorous lifestyle from the confines of their dreary hallways for the last four years, and they’re more than ready to join the cool crowd. Although dreaming about their idealistic future can be exhilarating, their excitement can be easily squashed when they realize the other, more sobering factors that go along with leaving home. They have to think about the less fun realities of college- harder classes, doing their own laundry, having to shop for groceries, and other things they’re used to having their parents do for them.
I was just like the majority of overly enthusiastic students whenever it was my time to depart for college. After graduation, I was so excited to finally exchange my all too familiar small town for a new, diverse college environment. I was so busy planning how I would decorate my dorm room, constructing my class schedule, and picking out school supplies that I didn’t leave any time to think about anything else but the pros of moving away. As the summer drew to a close and move in day crept closer, my blind enthusiasm slowly began to be replaced by a growing realization of what I was leaving behind. I had been waiting for move in day for so long that I’d forgotten that it was actually going to happen. I now thought about how drastically my life was about to change, and had the same worries that most college freshman have, such as the first week of classes, dorm life, a new social scene, and so on.
My parents were a huge help in assuaging my newbie college anxieties. Their support helped my transition from high school senior to college rookie smoother. There were three main things that my parents did in the time leading up to my farewell that really encouraged me:
By having a secure, supportive backbone to fall back on, I felt less alone in my journey to college. In addition, by being told that I wasn’t expected to automatically be perfectly established in college alleviated the pressure I put on myself to prove that I could be successful on my own. The third, and probably most important one, was the way my parents responded to me whenever I expressed my apprehension about leaving. Both my mom and dad always assured me that they had no qualms concerning my capability to do well in college. They constantly told me how proud they were of me for going to college and how excited they were to see me flourish in the coming years. By hearing about how others believed in me helped me believe in myself, which was crucial in assuaging my fears. I encourage parents with kids preparing to leave the nest to practice these same strategies to help their children feel better during this time.
Parents shouldn’t expect their kids to be perfect, but instead expect them to learn from their experiences and become a greater person because of those opportunities. And although they may want to, parents can’t do everything for their kids. They can support and advise them, but ultimately adolescents must learn for themselves how to manage their affairs on their own.
This progression period is a tough time filled with conflicting emotions of excitement and anxiety, but the transition from home to college is a very important time in a person’s life. College helps develop one’s true identity and realize what they really want in life. It seems daunting in the beginning, but after acclimating to college, life becomes much more exciting.
Written by Karley Knight
Earlier in the week I introduced you to the basic concepts of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT is a direct approach to problem solving in counseling that focuses on identifying, challenging, and changing faulty belief systems and distorted ways of thinking…otherwise known as Stinkin’ Thinkin”.
My last blog post explored the powerful link between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Today we will move beyond the CBT triangle and focus on distorted thinking patterns called Cognitive distortions. Quite simply, cognitive distortions are inaccurate thoughts that reinforce negative thinking, behavior, and emotions.
For instance, a mom who has just signed on for a new PTA position might tell herself she SHOULDN’T make any mistakes in this new role and MUST transition into the role seamlessly. These types of SHOULD/MUST thoughts cause anxiety & unnecessary emotional distress.
Below are a few more types of distorted thinking that can lead to what I like to call “Mommy-Manic Moments!!!!”
Magnifying or Minimizing: Exaggerating or minimizing the importance of events-discounting achievements or exaggerating mistakes. “Everyone noticed I left the date off of the school carnival packet. This is AWFUL & everyone will think I am incompetent.”
Overgeneralizing: Making broad statements from a single or a few events. “I wasn’t as prepared for the PTA meeting today as I should have been. I am always unprepared!”
Magical Thinking: A belief that acts will influence unrelated situations. “I am a good person-bad things should not happen to me.”
Personalization: Believing that one is responsible for events outside of his/her own control. “My child is going through a hard time. If I were a better mom, my child would never have to face hard times.”
Jumping to Conclusions by Mind Reading: Interpreting the thoughts and beliefs of others without adequate evidence. “Little Johnny wasn’t invited to that birthday party, so that mom must think he is an awful kid!”
Jumping to Conclusions by Fortune Telling: Expecting a situation will turn out badly without adequate evidence. “Little Bobby will surely fail 2nd grade because he isn’t reading at the same level as the other children in his class.”
As you can probably guess, this type of negative thinking leads to anxiety & depression….Not to mention countless unplanned trips to TARGET for retail therapy!!!! In upcoming posts, we will explore a few more types of Stinkin’ Thinkin’ & begin the process of challenging and changing Negative Nelly thoughts.
“I want to go to my new school!”, squeals my (almost) 3 year old. In a few short days she’ll be transitioning to a new daycare . My husband and I have been prepping her for this change for a couple months… and prepping ourselves as well. Due to multiple changes occurring within this month ahead (hello baby number 3, kindergarten here we come) we figured why not just throw in one more thing. Changes all around! No man left behind! Let’s go all in!
If you’ve read any of my most recent posts you understated that for me, change usually brings anxiety. But, we are not here to talk about anxiety today. I’m taking a break from anxiety for a while. Instead, I’m focusing on being proactive, positive, and peaceful. I’m keeping in mind that I can only control so much. The rest I must leave up to faith, hope, and trust. I have come to realize I really do know very very little about predicting the future. Psychic readings are not my calling. <huff>
Let’s take some time, shall we, to focus on these 3 “P” words: Proactive, Positive, and Peaceful. Given that there is much to be said on each one of these “P” words I am going to break it down to 3 separate posts over the next 3 weeks, which will be just in time for most of you as you get ready to send your kiddo off to a new school year. We’re going to start with the first, and most important, in my opinion –
Not an actual picture, a mental picture. Children function through images. They develop understanding through seeing and doing as opposed to hearing. Learning through hearing is an acquired skill that develops more through development and growth. When children are young, they need to see and do in order to fully grasp ahold of a concept. This helps them feel empowered and in control.
This simple premise is the cornerstone of my work as a therapist.
I have found that the root of a client’s anxiety and/or depression is often directly related to his/her core beliefs about himself, others and the world around him. These beliefs, in combination with distorted thinking patterns, cause a great deal of emotional distress.
So it stands to reason that if we harness the power of our thoughts, we can directly influence our feelings & behaviors. This idea is the backbone of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a short term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem solving. Quite simply: changing your thoughts can change your life!
Sound too good to be true? It’s not. With a lot of introspection and a little homework, you will be well on your way to mastering your mind.
In my upcoming blog posts, I will shed light on the core principles of CBT. Today, however, we will begin to explore the foundation upon which CBT is built.
The first step in understanding CBT is to understand that feelings, actions, and thoughts are always connected.
Here is an example of this triangle in action:
Situation: I have an upcoming blog post deadline & a mountain of laundry looming in the other room. If my thought is…I’ll NEVER get this blog post done in time, I immediately feel ANXIOUS. This feeling of dread might cause me to avoid doing either task & instead, binge watch 1,000 episodes of Odd Mom Out.
My negative (all or nothing-always /never) thinking in this situation led to anxiety and avoidance…Not to mention some serious mind sucking t.v. time…which does little to help me conquer the Everest of Underwear in the other room.
With a small mommy mind makeover, I will rewind this scenario & hopefully end up with a more productive outcome.
Situation: I have an upcoming blog post deadline & a mountain of laundry looming in the other room. If my thought is…This blog post deadline is looming & so is the laundry. I’ve been in this situation before & I managed to get it all done. If I stay relaxed, I will be more productive. As a result, I feel less ANXIOUS and more hopeful. This new feeling of calm helps me to work on each task a little at a time and eventually get both of the tasks done. …Which in turn allows time for a glass of wine & 2 episodes of Odd Mom Out.
This mind makeover is obviously a win/win for booze, BRAVO & Borax!
Your homework this week is simple:
1) Put on your big girl panties… (Hopefully they’re clean!)
2) Put a lot of thought into situations that trigger you to feel anxious, overwhelmed, etc..& jot them down.
3) Stay tuned….In upcoming posts, we will explore how to label these thoughts and (if they are irrational), change them.
Happy Mommin’ –
My mind feels quieter lately, less disturbed, and much more calm these past couple of weeks. I have gone through a lot of ups and downs this pregnancy and I feel that I’m finally coming to a place of peace, which is somewhat ironic given that soon I won’t be pregnant at all, but instead will have the change of my new baby to grapple with. At which time I’m sure I’ll have a lot of newness to contend with, but for now, I feel calm, quiet, serene even as I enjoy these last few weeks of holding my baby inside.
I just arrived home a little carsick & A LOT heart sick. Watching the Frio River disappear from view is undoubtedly my least favorite part of the summer.
My favorite part? Everything else.
My intention was to share my favorite memories with words but last night, while gazing up at 1,000 Texas stars, I drank in all of my favorite songs, and changed my mind.
(It is a girl’s prerogative after all & this Texas Girl is no exception!)
So hear you go folks….this pretty much says it all.
Click below so I can tell you about my trip. 🙂
Sometimes you just have to take life one step at a time. I have been telling myself this a lot lately as the storm in my life is still swirling out of control. I still feel so out of control. My dad lays in a hospital bed so confused about what all is going on. My mom is putting on her strong face while she is falling apart inside. My sister is waiting anxiously to meet her first child. Hubby is trying to hold it together but I know he is hurting as my Dad is the only father figure he has ever had. My kids cannot possibly understand the depth of this storm yet they are being troopers with the change in pace.
I am looking forward to hitting the road to the Hill Country for my family’s annual trip to Garner State Park. If you have never experienced Garner State park or floated down the crystal clear waters of the Frio River, then you haven’t Met My Texas...(To quote Pat Green).
The Frio has become my happy place over the years.
Our Frio River bucket list includes:
A few summers back, in one of the Garner gift shops, I stumbled upon the cutest posters from a company called Your True Nature. I reveled in the advice from a river….especially the last line…The beauty is in the journey.
My advice for this Self Care Sunday is….. get your boots on & get here as soon as you can. I’ll save you a tube & a Shiner.