Students on the Pace Pleasantville Campus

Helping Students with Concerns

What Family Can Do and When to Intervene

As you can imagine, there are no easy answers for parents and family on how to address some of the college student’s concerns. However, some general guidelines are provided below:

    • Listen to your student’s concerns
    • Ask questions to help your student clarify the concerns
    • Acknowledge and communicate emotions (affirm that you recognize your student’s feelings)
    • Express your thoughts… Provide perspective
    • Help clarify the consequences of behaviors
    • Be supportive – Remind them you love them
    • Strive for mutual respect
    • Let go a little… Compromise where possible
    • Deal with the problems openly and as calmly as possible
    • Allow mistakes for both of you
    • Remind them again that you love them
    • Lecturing or too quickly offering solutions
    • Giving answers too readily
    • Denying the presence of strong feelings (for you or your student)
    • Making demands
    • Threatening in ways that stifle communications
    • Taking responsibility away from your student
    • Demanding submission without understanding
    • Giving up completely… Avoid exasperation
    • Ignoring or exaggerating problems
    • Expecting perfection… Growing takes time


In general, students are quite resourceful and able to adapt to the challenges of beginning their college education. Parents, family members, advisors, faculty and staff are in a key position to empower students with information that describe campus and community resources. Listed below are several resources that may be helpful to students or advisors desiring further information.

When Should You Intervene and When Should You Stand Back?

Parents and family members can be challenged by some of the struggles their student encounters at college. They may ask themselves if they are doing too much and taking away their student’s opportunity to develop and mature, or doing too little and allowing their student to sink into the abyss. While each situation is unique, and there are no hard and fast rules, these are some general rules of thumb…

    • Have your student do the talking or calling. Do not do it for her/him. Help your student identify the appropriate person(s) to speak with about a situation. You may help your student practice what s/he wants to say. Do not do the work for them. It is critical that your student develop negotiation skills. Your student may not do it perfectly or do it the way you would, but they will learn and grow from the experience. Don’t let your student convince you that they cannot or do not know how to do it. Let them know that this is part of being a college student.
    • There are at least two sides to every issue. Your student will share their perspective with you. Listen to their story and ask them what part they played in the conflict or problem. What could they do differently? Help them problem solve. The exception to this is in the area of sexual harassment or sexual assault
    • Encourage your student to stay at school on the weekends during the first half of the semester. You may miss your student and they you. They may say the weekends are dead and boring, nothing to do, or that everyone just gets drunk on the weekend. There are things to do at Pace on the weekends and many activities in Westchester, New York City and surrounding areas. That said, if you feel that your student needs to be home to touch base and secure themselves, allow them to do so.
    • There may be a tendency to ask Pace personnel to watch over your student, or to ask roommates to make sure they wake up or go to class. Resist the urge. It is your student's responsibility to get themselves to class, to manage their time, and to make decisions about their life. Pace is a small and caring community and we will support your student in a variety of ways. However, we will not usurp their freedom to make their own decisions.
    • Safety first. If you feel your student is putting themselves in danger (either emotionally or physically), it is time to become more involved. If your student is feeling suicidal, becoming over involved and stressed in helping others, or is so depressed and/or anxious they are unable to perform academically or socially, it is time to get help. If your child is unwilling to go for help please contact Pace staff (Dean for Students, Counseling Center staff, or someone you have met and trust on campus) and share your concern to discuss possible next steps.
    • If your student discusses an instance of sexual harassment or sexual assault, take them very seriously. Look at Pace University’s sexual assault policy. The Counseling Center is one place they can seek confidential consultation. Ultimately, it is your child’s decision about what action they wish to take.
    • If you are concerned about your student’s academic performance you may contact the office of Academic Advisement or Dean of Students. Based on FERPA regulations, Pace cannot tell you any specifics about your student’s grades. However, we can tell you if you have cause for concern and assist you in how to discuss this with your student.