Support for Parents and Guardians
Parents of AU students sometimes face special challenges in their efforts to support their children. Challenges may include, for example: feeling helpless to supervise or care for your student from a distance; having difficulty making sense of cultural differences between the home culture and the university culture; observing troubling changes in your college student's moods or behaviors; or other difficulties in supporting your young adult child to thrive at the university. These and other concerns related to being a parent of an AU student are appropriate to bring to the Counseling Center for a consultation with a clinician.
What other support does AU offer for parents?
Who can I consult about my concerns regarding my child?
The Counseling Center provides consultations to parents on how to help a student in distress, how to refer a student to the Center, how to locate appropriate treatment or mental health care for your student, and other issues that come up in the course of being a concerned parent. Call the Counseling Center, (202) 885-3500, and ask to speak with a clinician about your particular concerns. Please be aware that the Counseling Center is prevented by law from sharing (even with a concerned parent) confidential information about a student's contact with the Center without the student's written permission. Nevertheless, you are welcome to share your own concerns with a Counseling Center clinician, and ask that clinician any questions you may have about the nature and limits of confidentiality, or the services we might provide to your student. Please also be aware that clinicians are first responsible to their clients and cannot agree ahead of time to keep third party consultations confidential. Clinicians may decide that it is important and in the best interest of the student (e.g., when parents provide information about a student's ability to keep themselves safe) that the consultation be shared with the student if he/she is in fact a client of the Center.
Is counseling for my child available on campus?
Initial assessments, crisis interventions, and other services are readily available on campus. However, many students require ongoing support that is more specialized, intensive, or extensive than is available on campus. In general, ongoing mental health care is a private health care responsibility, not a service provided by the university. For students who need off-campus care, a Center clinician can work with them to locate private care that is maximally accessible, appropriate, and affordable. More detailed answers to some most frequently asked questions can be found at: Frequently Asked Questions About On-Campus Counseling.
How can I help my distressed child?
The following handouts and links offer some guidelines for helping students in distress. You are also invited to call the Counseling Center for a consultation with a clinician: (202) 885-3500.
How to Help a Student in Distress
Helping A Student Get Help
How can I educate myself about what might be troubling my child?
Information about mental health and human development can be found in our Self-Help Library, located in the Counseling Center reception area, and on our on-line Self-Help page. Topics include depression, anxiety, relationships, eating disorders, trauma, and other issues of interest to you and your student.
Where can I find books or links related to parenting a college student?
Don't Tell Me What To Do: Just Send Money. Helen Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller, 2000
When Your Kid Goes To College: A Parent's Survival Guide. Carol Barkin, 1999
Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years. Karen Levin Coburn, 1997
Jed Foundation: Ask the Expert
How can I learn more about the AU Counseling Center?
For more information about Counseling Center resources, click on the links on the left-hand panel of this page, or you can give us a call at 202-885-3500.
What other support does AU for parents?
Contact the Dean of Students Office for further information about services for parents.