Dorms and college life for girls

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Dorms and college life for girls

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There's several things you can do to help your son or daughter adjust to dorm life and the risks and challenges of college life. So in a dorm, your son or daughter's going to have this enormous amount of freedom that they didn't have at home and all kinds of things are happening in the dorms. The things we worry about are like drug and alcohol abuse or a hyper-sexualized sort of college environment. You have been conveying to your child your values and beliefs the whole time they've been growing up and what we know about young people is that while we can't control them, we're not in a position to control them, we really are in a position to persuade them, especially if we treat them with respect. Our sons and daughters really care about our opinions and our values and they really want us to think well of them. So you can check in with your son and daughter about what's happening in the dorm and how they're making choices about those things. It's likely that they'll take some risks that you don't feel so great about, but they're also taking risks in areas of life that you're really so proud of them for trying things out, like taking a harder class or things like that. So these things actually go hand in hand. College is about so much more than academics. Your child is creating relationships that are going to last for a lifetime. They're trying out all kinds of new things. So dorm life and those challenges are part of the whole package of what a college experience is for your child.

View SuEllen Hamkins, MD's video on Dorms and college life for girls...

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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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