Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Quest for Better Student-Parent Relationships

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     Below is one of the most amazing tools for those of you looking for a breakthrough in the relationship with your parents.  Warning, this tool is dangerous and should only be wielded by people who truly want a breakthrough. A parent-student contact clarifies expectations and responsibilities so that everything is out in the open.  As mentioned in earlier posts, if you do not show your parents that you are moving forward in life they will be less likely to support you going forward.  

     Most young adults would instinctively run from such an agreement but the things that seem counter-intuitive are often the best decision to make (Prov 14:12) (Prov 11:14). This agreement will show your resolve to execute a well thought out plan of becoming financially independent through your college education. 

Parent Student Contact Template
The contract can be modified to fit the intent of the situation in any way. Contracts can be annulled by either party, but must be renegotiated by both parties.   

Student Responsibilities:

·          Work hard and accept responsibility for my own learning.
·          Maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average.
·          Do all of my work to the best of my ability.
·          Make good use of private study time.
·          Ask for help when I need it.
·          Attend all classes.
·          Keep parents informed about important college matters.
·          Abide by the college rules.
·          Employment; I will get a part time job. The exception will be my first semester. For the first semester I will not work and commit myself to college and getting acclimated.
·          Graduate from _________ University in four years
·          Manage my money wisely and do not obtain credit without consulting parents.
·          If I drop a class I will be responsible to pay for any replacement classes.
·          I will always attempt to choose the best option that considers my own well-being, health, and safety.

Parental Responsibilities:
·          To be positive, helpful, and supportive.
·          Pay for tuition, room, board, books and fees (or whatever you agree)
·          Pay for transportation to and from _________ University.
·          Provide a weekly allowance which is to be paid one time at the beginning of each semester.
·          We have read the above stated responsibilities and agree to jointly work toward the successful goals of completing your college experience at _________ University.

Student Signature: _____________________    Date:___________

Parent Signature: __________________     Date:____________

Parent Signature: __________________     Date:____________

This contract will take time to hammer out so you should enter the negotiations with the understanding that you will need to accept less then you want.    It is highly possible that after the contract is complete, you may be disappointed.  It could feel that nothing has really changed.  This could be true, but the important thing is that you have agreed to be held accountable.  This builds trust with your parents and they will be more likely to take you seriously.   We all long to be seen as competent by our parents, and this feeling does not go away with time.  I believe it increases. When you make good decisions, it brings joy to your parents.  A parent-student contract is a way to honor your parents, because you are seeking their advice and truly submitting to them. 
  • Proverbs 13:1     A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.
  • Proverbs 15:20    A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother. 
  • Ephesians 6:1-3   "Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—  “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. 
Regarding the contract,  if it contains a lot of changes from how you were operating, give it time to feel normal.  Go easy on each other as it will be a bit weird as you both adjust.  The reality is that much will change due to the nature of your demanding schedule.  This is a new phase of your life.  It will be different.  Please trust me.  You should not worry about constant nagging and micromanaging from your parents because you will be so busy studying and working. Parents need to see you doing well.  The onus is on you to do things that build their trust.  It doesn't work the other way around.  

It would be foolish to slap a 10-year old child in a car and let him go cruising. A wise parent will look at the capabilities of their child when determining what is appropriate and will not set arbitrary dates when certain privileges are extended.  Don't expect your parents to blindly trust you to make adult decisions, you must show yourself capable.  This contact is one of many things you will need to do to earn that trust.

See: Billy Grahm on Deadbeat Adult Children