Handling Distraught Phone Calls

The way you handle a distraught phone call can make the difference between empowering and enabling your daughter. Here are some guidelines to help you through these difficult calls:

  • An overwhelmed, distraught student can’t be magically calmed down. It takes active listening on the parents’ part to discover the real issue.
  • Overreacting to the call won’t help. Remain calm and reassure her that things will be okay. Direct her to the appropriate people on campus.
  • She is calling you because she trusts you and knows how to express herself with you. Although she may not want her peers to know she’s upset, encourage her to talk with them. They may be feeling the same way she is.
  • Remember that you are hearing only your daughter’s side of things in an emotional moment. Do the best you can to diffuse the situation and follow up later for more details.
  • Don’t let your daughter develop a habit of having only emotionally charged phone calls with you.
  • Know when she may need support or counseling. She may need extra help with academics or may want to talk with a counselor about her homesickness or coping skills. Let her know it’s okay to ask for help.