Monday, July 11, 2011

One Mom's Thoughts on the Parental Role in Sorority Recruitment

Fall Formal Recruitment can be an emotional process for many women. It is often their first experience being away from home and the task of choosing a home for the next four years can be daunting. Parents often want to be parents during this time and help their daughters through the process. But as many parents of teenagers know, it can be hard to determine what is helpful and what is not. How can you best help your daughter during the week of Fall Formal Recruitment? 

Below is an excerpt from Blogger Mary Beth Rice offers some of her tips and advice. To read her full blog post click here.

"A couple of weeks ago I was asked to speak at our local University to the parents of potential new members going through Recruitment. It was move in day; the auditorium full of tired and emotional parents. I was asked to share some advice on what role they could play in their daughters’ upcoming sorority recruitment and start to college. This was a bit daunting to me and humility set in as I hoped I had at best a few encouraging words to share.

Fortunately, I did come up with a few suggestions parents could reflect upon in supporting their daughter through recruitment and beyond, yet allowing them to spread their own wings. I will share them with you too. Take them or leave them but do enjoy this new phase in life for the both of you.

1. Lose expectations or feelings from your own Greek life experience. Whether you have a Greek affiliation or not, you do have some opinion about Greek life if you went to college on a campus with a Greek system. Some of these opinions or biases may be based on a college experience quite a few years back. Try and encourage your daughter to form her own opinions AND only after she begins the process,  not taking to heart any bias from boyfriends, siblings, hometown friends, distant relatives, etc.

2. At each of the recruitment events, encourage her to look around those rooms and really get to know the other potential new members at each of the events. Those are the young women she will be living with and experiencing campus life with and each day of recruitment will help her know where she is most comfortable.

3. For daughters who may be shy or reserved, the recruitment process might be overwhelming. Encourage her to be open minded, taking a risk as she embarks on college. It is a great time to branch out and perhaps lose some of the high school labels we all put upon ourselves. One can really be and should be authentic and sincere throughout the whole process. Even if your daughter decides recruitment might not be a fit for her at this time, remind her that this experience will afford her a great opportunity to get to know other women on her residence hall floor and beyond. New friendships may come from it.

4. She will be exhausted and emotional. Allow her this indulgence and help her maintain her sense of humor. Remind her other potential new members are experiencing the same things.

5. Be a good listener. You don’t have to fix anything. If she can share the ups and downs of her experience she can sort through her feelings about all of it and often doesn’t need or want advice.

6. As she begins college try and become connected to your daughter through technology. NOTHING replaces voice to voice communication, eye contact or hugs…but this generation communicates on Facebook and in text messaging and there is no going back. Learn to text and possibly get a Facebook page (especially if your daughter is encouraging it) just to be connected….not to hover but just to be available. The technology allows a kind of subtle way to be present.

7. Encourage and frequently discuss safe choices especially regarding alcohol and driving under the influence or with others who have been drinking. The more we encourage them to be safe and smart, the more likely the messages will stick when presented with more risky choices. If you are informed about binge drinking and alcohol poisoning then you can help inform her. Awareness is the first essential step.

And finally,
8. Love her up and remind her of the gifts you see in her! As a parent I was not prepared for how difficult the transition was for my own daughter on many levels. One loses a bit of confidence beginning all over again out of high school-especially if the new campus is large. That is why it is EXCELLENT that our daughters want to join a sorority to engage in that support system and in those relationships as they begin college life.

No comments:

Post a Comment