As your child prepares to take that giant leap into college life, you probably feel a whirlwind of emotions. Being excited, proud, anxious, and maybe even sad is normal. As a parent, you anticipated this moment from the day your child was born, but you might not feel prepared. Because parenting is naturally full of these bittersweet moments, instead of feeling overwhelmed, you can take steps to prepare for this major milestone. Here are some suggestions you can begin with.
1. Embrace Your New Role
When your child leaves home, it soon dawns on you that they won’t need you as much as they did when they lived under your roof. The best thing is to embrace your new parenting role. Your child still needs you, but from now on, you have to allow them to be the ones who ask for help when they need it.
In the beginning, you might worry about them a lot. But as you take it a day at a time, you’ll see they are okay. Don’t be offended if they make ‘serious decisions without asking for your opinion. After 18, they’re regarded as adults and can take responsibility for their choices. According to the California Lawyers Association, a person’s parents lose the right to make decisions for them as soon as they turn 18.
2. Deal With The Emotions
Saying goodbye is never easy, and letting those tears flow is okay. It’s all part of the process. You’re experiencing a unique kind of grief; working through it healthily is essential. Talk to someone you trust, like your spouse, a friend, a pastor, or a therapist. Let it all out and find the support you need.
Involve the child in this processing of negative emotions. Even better, invite them to process their grief with you. It’s a great time to bust out old videos and photo albums and go through them together. Be warned; there will be happy tears shed! But at the end of the day, all you’ll have in place of the separation anxiety is gratitude. You’ll be reminded that change has been happening all along and that, most of that time, it spelled progress and growth.
3. Find a Hobby
Parenting is seasonal. When kids are young, it feels like it’ll last forever. So it’s not strange that you built your whole life around your child’s existence. But, finding something enjoyable to fill up your time is significant if you only have one child leaving the nest. Instead of waiting for the loneliness to kick in, replace empty time slots by joining a club, spending time with your friends, taking a leisurely sport, volunteering somewhere, or joining the gym.
It’ll help you stay occupied and in high spirits. You can look up some local activities in your area and pick what resonates. Finances Online says local queries comprise about 50% of the two trillion yearly Google searches. So, you’ll find a rich social life waiting for you on the other side of the empty nest because you’re not the only one looking out for an adventure!
4. Find Ways to Connect
Just because your child is leaving for college doesn’t mean you have to cut them off or vice versa. It’s important to find ways to connect. We’re in the social media age, so outside Facetime, you can connect on social media, catching up without necessarily talking. You can like their pictures, watch their videos, comment on things they post, and they can do the same as you. You won’t feel like you are missing out wholly.
You can also plan road trips and meet each other halfway. Take care of your car and advise your child to do the same with theirs. According to Quora, you should service the car you’re using for these frequent road trips every 30,000 miles to stave off potential emergencies down the road.
Seeing your child off to college is sad, but it’s certainly not the end of the world. It’s a new beginning you can embrace, prepare for and thrive in.