Parents can be a wonderful support system for their son or daughter throughout the college years.  Ringling College of Art and Design strives to provide enough support to match and meet the challenges that come with collegiate life.  The Peterson Counseling Center was established to ensure student's emotional well being and personal growth.



Confidentiality is an essential part of any counseling relationship. The counseling center staff adheres to the ethical standards of their respective professions and to state and federal laws relating to confidentiality. These standards and laws prevent us from speaking with concerned parents about their student’s contact with the center unless we have the student’s written permission. Thus, unless your student gives us written permission, we cannot acknowledge whether your student has been seen at the center or is making progress in counseling. The only exceptions occur when a student is under 18 years of age, when we are concerned that a student is clearly and imminently suicidal, when we learn of ongoing child abuse, or when we are ordered to release confidential information by a court of law.

Many students prefer to keep their counseling completely private, and such privacy is typically vital for successful counseling. Assuming your student is, however, willing to have one of their counselors discuss her or his participation in counseling with you. One good way to arrange for this is by asking your student to have the counselor call you during a counseling session. The counselor will then have your student complete and sign the necessary form, and may call you using a speaker telephone, so that all concerned can participate in the conversation. Note that, in general, counseling is best served if everything parents have to share with their student’s counselor is also shared with their student.

Even if your student doesn’t give her or his counselor permission to provide information to you, you may choose to contact a counselor to share your concerns. Such contact may make sense, for example, if you are concerned that your student is in serious danger.  Note, however, that the counselor will not be able to even acknowledge knowing your student, and that the counselor will want to discuss any information you provide with your student.

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The following is a list of books for parents that focus on students' transition from home to college and changes for parents throughout the college years.

Student transition from home to college:

  • Almost Grown: Launching Your Child from High School to College
    by Patricia Pasick

  • College of the Overwhelmed: The Campus Mental Health Crisis and What to Do about it
    by Richard Kadison

  • Don’t Tell me What to Do, Just Send Money
    by Helen E. Johnson

  • Empty Nest ... Full Heart: The Journey from Home to College
    by Andrea Van Steenhouse

  • The Launching Years: Strategies for Parenting from Senior to College Life
    by Laura Kastner , Jennifer Fugett Wyatt

  • Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years
    by Karen Levin Coburn (Author), Madge Lawrence Treeger

  • When Kids Go to College: A Parent's Guide to Changing Relationships
    by Barbara M. Newman, Philip R.Newman

  • When Your Kid Goes to College: A Parent's Survival Guide
    by Carol Barkin

  • You're On Your Own (But I'm Here if You Need Me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years
    by Marjorie Savage 

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Changes for Parents throughout college years:

  • Transition to College: Separation and Change for Parents and Students
    by Robin F. Goodman, Ph.D., New York University Child Study Center

  • Transition to College Stresses Parents and Kids
    by Emily Hagedorn / The Detroit News

  • Mothers and Their Adult Daughters: Mixed Emotions, Enduring Bonds
    by Karen Fingerman, Ph.D.

  • Empty Nest...Full Heart: The Journey from Home to College
    by Andrea Steenhouse

  • How to Survive and Thrive in an Empty Nest: Reclaiming your Life when Your Children have Grown
    by Jeanette Lauer et al

  • Operating Instructions: A  Journal of My Son's First Year
    by Anne Lamott

  • She's Leaving Home: Letting Go as a Daughter Goes to College
    by Connie Jones

  • The Empty Nest: When Children Leave Home
    by Shelley Bovey

  • When You're Facing the Empty Nest: Avoiding Midlife Meltdown When Your Child Leaves Home
    by Mary Ann Froehlich

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