Transitioning to college

In this scenario, a mother and her young-adult son discuss how he plans to manage his hemophilia when he goes to college. The son is concerned about managing his hemophilia in college, while the mother wants the son to take responsibility for his treatment now that he’s transitioning to the next stage in his life. We’ll explore this scenario using the “directive” and “constructive” approaches to see which approach empowers the son to develop his own plan to confidently transition to college. Each approach is followed by commentary to provide background on why one approach may have been more effective than the other.

TRANSCRIPT

Transcript

  • Mother:

    “Knock, knock. Can I come in?”
  • Son

    : “Yeah, I guess, but I’m doing something.”
  • Mother:

    “Do you have a sec?”
  • Son:

    “I guess…”
  • Mother:

    “So are you excited about college?”
  • Son:

    “Sort of...”
  • Mother:

    “You ought to be really excited.”
  • Son:

    “Yeah… I’m kinda nervous about everything that I have to juggle, you know.”
  • Mother:

    “Well, look, that’s why we need to talk. You just need to apply yourself and manage your hemophilia and your infusions. You’re going away to college this Fall and you still haven’t shown me that you’re able to take responsibility for your Hemophilia.”
  • Son:

    “Well, um, you know, I’m also really nervous about what people are gonna think of me. You know, I don’t want them to think I’m weird…”
  • Mother:

    “Look, I know college is a big adjustment, but you don’t have to worry about what people think.”
  • Son:

    “I know mom… I’m not a little kid any more, OK? I can handle this. I just need to work through it on my own.”
  • Mother:

    “Well then, show me. Show me that you’re able to handle it by making your appointments and logging your infusions. Who is going to be there in the Fall to help you.. I’m certainly not going to be there.”
  • Son:

    “I know, Mom. I’m not stupid!”
  • Mother:

    “OK, well then show me. Show me you can handle it.”
  • Son:

    “Fine... I will...”
  • Mother:

    “Good, thank you. Now, I’m going to write down the center’s phone number. I’ll leave it for you on the counter. I want you to go check out the events that they’re hosting this month and maybe you can make a new friend.”
  • Son:

    OK, mom… I will.
  • Dawn Rotellini:

    “So, what happened between the mother and her son? The mother is forceful and isn’t considerate about her son’s feelings towards going to college. The son is open about how he feels—he is nervous and concerned about what people will think of him. He reacts, however, to his mother’s lack of understanding or consideration, and the conversation is shut down. It is clear that he feels that his mother is telling him what to do and how she believes he should feel about going to college. He tries to explain that he knows what he needs to do, but her response suggests that she doesn’t believe him or trust that he can manage the transition. This scenario does not improve the son’s outlook on going to college nor is he confident he can manage his hemophilia while in college. Now, let’s watch a video where a more constructive approach is used.”
  • Mother:

    “Knock, knock. Can I come in?”
  • Son:

    “Yeah, I guess, but I’m doing something.”
  • Mother:

    “I’ve had something on my mind lately. Is this a good time to talk, James? It would really mean a lot to me.”
  • Son:

    “I guess so.”
  • Mother:

    “So, college is this Fall. How ya feeling about going away?”
  • Son:

    “I guess I’m pretty excited.”
  • Mother:

    “Oh, I thought you’d say “very excited”. You seem a bit worried.”
  • Son:

    “I am… I’m worried about everything that I’m gonna have to juggle.”
  • Mother:

    “What do you…What do you have to juggle?”
  • Son:

    “All my school stuff... and all my infusion stuff. And then on top of all that, I don’t want people to think I’m weird.”
  • Mother:

    “So, you're excited about going to college but you’re a bit worried about the adjustments to college, along with having to do your infusions and you don't want the new people that you’re gonna meet to think that you’re weird or different because of the infusions.”
  • Son:

    “Right… and you know, I’ve even been practicing what I’m gonna say or do.”
  • Mother:

    “I like that you’ve been thinking a lot about this. I know that you understand how serious your infusions are, yet you don't want this to be a big deal to the people that you don’t know that well.”
  • Son:

    “Right, right... You know, I’ve been trying to figure out how I’m gonna deal with their reactions.”
  • Mother:

    “Well, what have you thought about?”
  • Son:

    “Well, you know… If I’m honest about it and I don't make such a big deal out of it, I don’t see why they’d make such a big deal out of it. Plus as long as I don’t get so busy and worried about what they’re thinking then I won’t get distracted over what I know I need to do.”
  • Mother:

    “You’ve really been giving this a lot of thought. What do you think you can do?”
  • Son:

    “Well I guess I can just keep telling myself that they’re not gonna prevent me from having another bleed. I have to do that.”
  • Mother:

    “I’m so impressed and comforted about how you’re thinking. You really want to take good care of yourself.”
  • Son:

    “I do, mom. I really do. And now that I’m taking care of my own infusions, I can just keep working right through it.”
  • Mother:

    “If you wanna talk to me or talk to Dr. Tortella or the chapter, would you let me know?”
  • Son:

    “Sure. You know, I’m gonna do it with my own plan first, and then I’ll let you know mom.”
  • Mother:

    “I like that. I’ll let you get back to your game. Thank you for talking.”
  • Son:

    “Sure.”
  • Dawn Rotellini:

    “Why was this approach more effective? The mother explored her son’s feelings and acknowledges and understands that he is nervous rather than dismissing it or being forceful. The son feels respected and becomes open about everything he will need to manage when he goes to college. The mother is able to reflect her understanding of what her son is going through, allowing him to see that she is supportive of his needs and concerns. She recognizes that her son wants to be responsible and expresses that she is pleased that he is already thinking about his transition. The mother allows the son to make his own decisions about what he feels will make him most comfortable during this transition. The son feels empowered to come up with his own plan, since ultimately, he is the one who needs to go through the process of transitioning to college.”

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