That College Transition, pt 1: Dear Parents:
The countdown was on the fridge for months, the senioritis set in about March of the last school year, going off to college was all that your young adult has talked about for months. The graduation ceremony commenced, the open house happened, they worked hard all summer to build up that bank account, and now the time is really here. Off to college they go.
Wait. How did that even happen, and now what?! Soon your home will feel a little less chaotic, or completely empty if this is the last of your children to head to college, and your free time might be spent being just that, free. But it’s never really that easy is it. Reality is about to pendulum swing backward and smack your family right in the face.
As a parent of a child heading to college this time is as hard on you as it may be your child and whether you realize it or not, or they show it or not, this time is hard on your child. Your young adult is going from zero to full throttle in a variety of ways. They have craved freedom and now they have all that they could have asked for, but there are many dangers that come with that.
· Be consistent. Call them to check in, you may get an answer once out of every eight calls but check in, they want to know that while they are gone, they are not forgotten.
· Prioritize time with them. When your young adult resurfaces from their ever so glamorous newly found freedom of adulthood make sure to over emphasize time with them. Be flexible with their schedule, to some extent, but make sure they know without a doubt that you are wanting to spend time with them and wanting to hear about their new life.
· Listen, really listen. Listen to their tales of glory while they navigate this new life, but also ask about their failures and where they need support and be ready to be there for them. Know resources, or research resources that can meet their needs or be available to them.
· Care, love, and be kind. I know this can seem silly to add but sometimes it just needs to be repeated. When your young adult calls for the, what feels like, millionth time for money be kind to them. Just because they are asking does not mean you need to give in order to be kind, some of the best parenting can come from tough love, but direct them, teach them, be kind in loving them and show you care by helping them through this time.
· Finally, be kind, love, and care for yourself. This is going to be an ultimate transition for you as well, connect with your partner, check in on how each of you are doing. Go on dates, not just with each other, with friends, with yourself. Find a new hobby or rekindle an old hobby. Find a support group or start your own, book clubs can be so much more than reading books, start a “life is changing club” and invite anyone who has, is, or will experience change (eh-hem, so everyone you know).