When you decide to send your son to White River Academy, we realize the adjustment may be difficult for your son at first. After all, he has likely been used to similar family surroundings for much of his life. Now, he will be in a new environment with many changes and this may be overwhelming at first. There is some advice we can offer to help your son and of course, we will be doing our part to ensure your son’s comfort in new surroundings as well.
First, you should not be in constant contact with your son, as this will help aid the transition more easily. At White River Academy, we have special times arranged for your son to be able to contact you by phone. In addition, you may write each other letters at any time as well to help ease feelings of homesickness.
You will want to be sure to help persuade your son to make new friends. We help assist this process by assigning each newcomer two boys who have been with the program for a significant amount of time. They will help show your son the ropes and make them more comfortable as they adjust to their new lifestyle. Your teen will soon become acquainted with his dorm mates. Other activities, such as studying or extracurricular sports, will give him a further opportunity to reach out and connect with others.
It is important that you resist the urge to be overly controlling once he has entered the program, as this defeats the purpose of him attending such an academy in the first place. This is a chance for your son to begin taking responsibilities for his own decisions and learn the ways of adulthood. Your son will learn the value of independence and we are always here to provide the proper guidance along the way.
When communicating with your child, it may help to bring up something humorous that you know would appeal to them to help lighten the mood. Something that reminds them of home in a positive way may help, such as an aside that a usual occurrence has continued to take place in the interim. You may send them a favorite type of food or snack that will help them feel more comfortable. Sending a little extra money may also prove beneficial and they may use it on the weekends to enjoy having more of a sense of personal freedom.
Of course, our parent weekends will allow you to catch up with your son on an in person basis. This can be a great opportunity for you to meet new friends that they have made or see facilities that they have been sharing positive memories about. When in contact with your child, it’s important to ask them at first about what has been going well. Your child’s instinct may be to only turn to you if something goes wrong, so you will want to encourage them to talk about their experiences in a more balanced fashion.
Be patient and understanding with your son as they make this important transition. Encourage them to be assertive in dealing with any conflicts that come their way by speaking with the proper supervisor at the academy. Feelings of homesickness normally pass within a reasonable amount of time. Before you know it, your son may even be bringing home a new friend during the holidays from their academy. This is a perfect opportunity for your son to feel more comfortable about the progress they have made and confident about the changes in growth they are able to share.