by Laura Collins Lyster-Mensh, Executive Director
Right now, during worldwide shutdown for COVID19, the idea of starting college away from home or going away to work as a young adult, seems like a dream. College age kids are home with their families stopping the coronavirus from spreading.
But now may be the ideal time to start thinking about when things like college and leaving home in the months to come.
A mom I know who has successfully shepherded two daughters through their eating disorders and into recovery wrote to me with a question recently:
- “Hi Laura! My youngest is now turning 18 and graduating in May, with plans to go to college in the fall. Would you please refer me to info on what to do before she turns 18?”
This mom was already on the ball. She had:
- Requested medical records from providers
- Plans to have her sign a medical power of attorney
- Plans to have a contract in place between herself, her daughter, and her current therapist
- Plans to identify a counselor at the school
- Plans to arrange for regular weight checks
- Has reminded her daughter that adulthood is a gradual process and that she is not independently supporting herself
Among her questions were:
- whether you can request records from mental health counselors,
- how to deal with her daughter’s insistence that once she is a legal adult she can make her own decisions,
- how to deal with new peers, school officials, or future boyfriends who may not be supportive of the parent’s involvement
We are reaching out to you, our wise community of parents and advocates and treatment providers, for your answers to these questions and any advice you may have for this mother and for other parents at this stage. Please add your comments below, or email me with your thoughts and resources. We will compile this for a page on our website so your wisdom will be shared into the future: beyond covid19, and beyond these difficult times.