The 7 Awkward (Yet Essential) Talks to Have Before Your College-Bound Kid Flies the Nest

Mother facing her daughter and having a serious conversation

The 7 Awkward (Yet Essential) Talks to Have Before Your College-Bound Kid Flies the Nest

Published on September 26, 2023

Mother facing her daughter and having a serious conversation

So, your baby bird is all set to leave the nest for college, huh? Congratulations! 🎉 Now, let’s get real: Some conversations might make you and your soon-to-be college student cringe. But hey, you’re in this together! It’s time to tackle those awkward but absolutely necessary talks before they fly off because if not now, when, right?

  1. The Importance of Talking to Your Teen About Setting Standards (Especially About Sex): It’s important to talk about relationships, dating, and yes, even the birds and the bees in detail before your teen leaves for college. Even though it may seem like they’re not listening, your influence carries a ton of weight, so it’s definitely worth it. Remember to discuss setting boundaries, consent, and respecting their own and others’ boundaries. Awkward? Maybe. Crucial? Absolutely.
  2. About Experimenting and Making Good Decisions: The college scene might introduce your kid to all sorts of new experiences, but knowing how to party safely is key to having a good time. Talk openly about experimenting with substances, alcohol, and peer pressure. Stress the importance of making informed decisions and looking out for their own well-being, regardless of what their friends are doing. Consider giving them an “out,” such as “I’m high on life already, but thanks” which tends to command laughter and smooth over any awkwardness.
  3. About Spiked Drinks and Personal Safety: This is the stuff no one wants to talk about, but we must. Discuss the risks of spiked drinks, personal safety, and the power of the buddy system. Ensure your college-bound teen knows how to protect themselves and seek help when needed.
  4. About Academic Expectations and Time Management: Let’s shift gears to academics. Discuss their expectations and yours. Talk about the importance of time management, balancing social life, and seeking help when they need it. Offer support but also remind them of their responsibilities.
  5. About Mental Health and Well-Being: Addressing mental health can be challenging, but it’s vital. Let your teen know it’s okay not to be okay sometimes. Discuss the resources available on campus and at home for mental health support. The important thing is to normalize seeking help when needed.
  6. About Financial Responsibility and Budgeting: Money talks can get dicey. Talk about financial responsibility, budgeting, and avoiding student debt pitfalls. Explain what will happen if they overspend too quickly, and be prepared to follow through with any consequences, such as not refilling their bank account. Share your wisdom and help them understand the importance of managing their finances wisely.
  7. About Failure and Resilience: Lastly, talk about the “F” word: failure. Remind your student that setbacks are part of life, and they happen to everyone, even the world’s most successful people. Discuss resilience and the importance of learning from past mistakes. Let them know you’re there, not to judge, but to support them, so they’re not surprised when they fail but also ready to bounce back.

These talks may be uncomfortable, but they’re essential for your teen’s growth and safety in college. Keep the lines of communication open, listen without judgment, and assure them of your love and support. After all, that’s what parents do best—navigate the awkward moments and tough talks to help their kids soar. 🚀💙


Use R2C Insights to help find merit aid and schools that fit the criteria most important to your student. You’ll not only save precious time, but your student will avoid the heartache of applying to schools they aren’t likely to get into or can’t afford to attend.  

Other Articles You Might Like:

Saying Goodbye to Your College Freshman: Tips for Parents

What I Would Have Done Differently When I Was Applying to College

Said Yes to College? You’ve Still Got College Financial Planning to Do




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