Making bad choices at college

Learn about: Making bad choices at college from SuEllen Hamkins, MD,...
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Making bad choices at college

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You can be sure that your child in college is going to make decisions that you really disagree with. Decisions that you think are bad decisions, or decisions that even they, later, will say were bad decisions. This is part of the challenge of being a parent. So what's hard about these things is that we can't control our children when they're young adults. They're going to make these choices but we can choose how we're going to respond to that. We can be connector with our children, not pull away. Also, not be judgmental, but being in a set state of being curious about what they're doing. Ask them how does it soothe them? How did it work out for them? What do they like about it? What do they not like about it? They are young adults. We're not in the position to tell them what to do anymore. Our relationship with them will go best if we are in the position of being non-judgmental of the choices that they're making. And that we're supportive of them, as people, no matter what. If you are really worried about your son or daughter's well-being at college, it is important for you to get more information about what's really going on with them. If they're suffering from a severe drug or alcohol problem, or they're developing signs of depression, bipolar disorder, or other kinds of mental illness, it's really appropriate for you to really step in. See if you can help them figure out what's going on, and help them get professional help if that's what they need.

Learn about: Making bad choices at college from SuEllen Hamkins, MD,...

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SuEllen Hamkins, MD

Psychiatrist & Author

SuEllen Hamkins, MD, is a psychiatrist, author and founding member of the Mother-Daughter Project, a community of women and girls that developed powerful, practical ways to help mothers and daughters stay connected and thrive through adolescence. Co-author of The Mother-Daughter Project: How Mothers and Daughters Can Band Together, Beat the Odds and Thrive Through Adolescence, Dr. Hamkins has given numerous presentations for parents and psychotherapists around the world, focusing on mothers, daughters, their relationships and the kinds of communities that nurture them.  As the psychiatrist for the Smith College Counseling Service from 1992-2004, SuEllen offered consultation to over a thousand women ages 16 to 23 to help them resist and overcome problems such as anorexia, bulimia, depression, anxiety, trauma, assault, and self-injury.  In addition to her work on behalf of mothers and daughters, as the Assistant Director for Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, she has been instrumental in developing strengths-based, narrative approaches to psychotherapy and psychiatric practice, helping people cultivate their values and strengths in the face of serious difficulties.  SuEllen is the mother of two daughters, now 17 and 22, and raising them has been the most thrilling and rewarding work of her life. She lives with her husband and younger daughter in western Massachusetts, where they love to swim outdoors, cross country ski, shoe snow, dance, cook and lounge around in the living room, reading. 

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