Whether your kid is a freshman entering college for the first time or returning back to college, there are so many emotions we experience as parents. There are differences in a parent’s reaction to the departure of a first child, an only child or even the last child. Feelings of sadness, anxiety and depression are normal and expected responses. It is a new phase in life for us and them that represents transition and change. For many college kids, once they leave for school they oftentimes do not return back to the family home.
The departure is a significant milestone in the life of a family and reminds parents that this is a step towards adulthood. It is an emotional separation for both parent and child and remaining siblings. Depending on how far the child is going, may also change some family traditions. I remember my youngest feeling so sad when his older sister left for school. The change affects the entire family.
It is a time when parents have to give up some parental control. Adjusting to this can be difficult especially if we have been accustomed to taking care of things for our child. Allow your child to adjust to college life. Remember that they feel stress as they leave the security of family and friends and familiarity. Trust that what you have taught them in terms of values serve as a foundation for them.
Once the initial sadness subsides, many parents begin to feel less constrained, have more time to spend with their spouse, or significant other, other siblings, extended family members and friends. It is a good time for parents to redirect their time and energy. The parent/child relationship changes …. It becomes more adult-to-adult. Looking at this experience in a positive way can offer new opportunities for you as parents. The things we have placed on hold for so many years, we can now address.
As each August arrives, it becomes easier and easier to adjust and adapt not only for you but for your family. New traditions are formed and your college child establishes more autonomy and independence.
At the Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, NJ, we have a team of licensed professionals available day, evening and weekend hours who can assist you and your family with this transition. Visit us at www.hellenictherapy.com or call 908-322-0112.