When high school graduation approaches and parents have college-bound teenagers, it is a bittersweet moment.

It’s almost time for your child to leave the nest. With college around the corner, you and your teenager are likely doing a lot of planning and preparing. From buying dorm room decor, getting student affairs handled, reserving moving trucks and more, there is a laundry list of things to remember.

Another layer is adding when moving to another city or state. For many teenagers, it can be a bit of a culture shock. This is a feeling that moms Nissa Harrow and Taquila Butler know too well. Both have daughters who are now finishing their freshman years of college. 

“My biggest concern was her being alone,” Butler told 21Ninety.

Butler’s daughter has lived in the same city her entire life, so adjusting to a new area with no family was scary. Harrow shared a similar concern over her daughter, hoping that she would be okay.

“My biggest concern was the safety at the college and mental health stability for my child,” Harrow said.


Any parent will tell you that they want to send their child to a safe college environment. However, the reality is that things happen. It’s important to have a conversation with your son or daughter about taking precautions to keep themselves safe.

“I was always stressing the importance of not leaving drinks unattended, to stay and leave with the same friends when partying,” Harrow said.

Butler says safety isn’t a topic that you discuss once. It’s good to remind your teen as often as possible.

“I have talked to her a lot about safety,” she said. “I’ve told her [not to] trust people so easily and to watch her surroundings at all times.”

Both Harrow and Butler also stress to their children to pick up the phone and call them at any time that they are in need.


Teaching college-bound teenagers how to make their money stretch now will be a big help in the future. This is especially important if they aren’t working and relying on you for money. Butler and Harrow say they have to be prepared to send money to their children at their beck and call. Butler says she picked up a side hustle to help with those costs.

“I’m currently working a Doordash job to make extra money,” Butler said. 

Harrow says last-minute requests for money have been a challenge with her daughter.

“She gives no notice,” she said. “It’s normally at the spur of the moment, [and] providing has been nonstop.”

Giving your child a budget could help with those unplanned money requests and teach them to have discipline with their finances.


If teenagers are having a hard time being tidy, it’s time to work on it now before leaving for college. Most of the time, freshmen on campus are sharing a dorm room or suite with at least one other person. Cleanliness can become an issue between roommates.

Make sure that your child knows to do their part in keeping a clean environment. Harrow believes this not only helps with study, but also with mental health. The earlier that you teach your child this, the better chance they have to continue it while living away from home.

“I taught my college student to keep her living area clean, make her bed daily and to do laundry weekly,” Butler said. “My daughter had cleaning and doing laundry down pat before going to college.”


Obtaining a degree and gaining work skills is the main reason for going to college. While your child may be ready to experience having fun without the restraints of your house rules, they must be sure to keep school as a high priority in their lives.

“My daughter is very good at keeping school first,” Butler said. “This is an area I don’t have to worry much about. She is going to do her work and make very good grades.”

Harrow teaches her college-bound teenager that it’s all about balance.

“I do encourage getting out of her dorms and having friend/fun time, but to focus on the goal and why she’s in college,” Harrow said.

Trust and Encouragement

Although there is no shortage of fun, college can be stressful. The workload is more rigorous, and students can sometimes feel overwhelmed. To keep her spirits high, Butler makes sure that her daughter has a bible and motivational books to help achieve her goals.

Peer pressure can sometimes take over in college. Harrow believes that the lessons parents have taught their children will be on full display at this stage of their lives.

“I’ve trained my child up with the morals and values to make the best decisions,” Harrow said.