How to Talk to Your College Student When Something is Wrong

Written By Marc Lehman, Owner and Family Therapist at


Talking to your college student can be difficult. They are in a new environment, trying to make new friends and figure out who they are. When something is wrong, they may not want to tell you because they don’t want to worry you. But as their parent, you know them better than anyone else and you can see when something is off. So how can you get them to open up to you? Here are some tips:

  1. Talk about your own experiences.

Chances are, your college student is going through something that you have gone through before. Share your own stories and experiences with them in a way that shows that you understand what they are going through. This will help them feel more comfortable talking to you about what is going on in their life.

  1. Be patient.

Your college student may not be ready to talk to you right away. They may need some time to process what is going on in their life. Be patient and wait for them to come to you when they are ready to talk. It’s important that they feel like they can come to you when they need to without feeling judged or pressured.

  1. Listen more than talk.

When your college student does open up to you, it’s important that you listen more than you talk. Let them share their experiences and feelings with you without interruption. This will show them that you are truly listening and that you care about what they have to say. It’s also important not to offer advice unless they ask for it; just let them know that you are there for them no matter what.

Talking to your college student can be difficult, but it’s so important to keep the lines of communication open. They are going through a lot of changes and need someone who understands what they are going through. By sharing your own experiences, being patient, and listening more than you talk, you can show your college student that you are there for them no matter what.

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