- Clarinda Brandão
Separation Anxiety: Dear Parents Sending Their Kids Off To College
Most parents and guardians are throwing away their tissues from recently celebrating their child's graduation. But in the next couple of months, those tissues will be coming back as kids will be sent off to college.
It's common for parents to start feeling some anxiety around their kids setting off into the world on their own. You've put so much of you into them and now, they're off on their personal journey!
It's not always an easy transition for parents, so, I created a quick list of ways to better manage your separation anxiety and for you to be able to enjoy the time you do have with them without the anxiety.
Firstly, you're going to be sad. It's ok. It's natural to feel separation anxiety watching your child move away to college. So, allow yourself to be in the emotions. Not all day and everyday, but accept that it's ok to have mixed feelings and that it will be ok.
Do some research. It sometimes helps to be part of the transition. Do research on the college or university (or city if they're moving away). It will help you to get a sense of where they are going and what it might be like. Talk to them about it, get excited with them.
Give them space to talk about it, they're creating a stronger sense of self in confidence in their decision. Also, if they have doubts, you can help them work through it. You're creating an understanding that though they're off on their own, they still have you for guidance.
Trust. Trust that your child will be able to problem solve and make the best decisions for them while they're away. This is where all your hard work begins to pay off as you see them thrive on their own. Give room for them to come to you if they need to, but even more room for them to spread their wings.
Create a plan for you to spend some time together before they go. Plan fun activities or events that you and your child have enjoyed in the past. Allowing time together before they leave can help the transition for both of you.
Create a schedule for communication. It might be easier to setup a time and day to contact each other. Call or Skype. Set boundaries and expectations on communication early on so no one is hurt or starts feel disconnected. This doesn't mean you can't communicate outside the "schedule", but knowing you're going to talk to your kid every Sunday afternoon, helps relieve any pressure for the both of you.
When they're finally out of the home, remember to take care of you. Do some self care and take the time to plan something for you alone or with your partner (or kids that are still home). By the way, congratulations for helping your kids get into college or university! All those sleepless nights paid off.
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