What a bittersweet time for a parent. It is so exciting to see your high schooler go off into the world and begin a new journey, yet that journey may be so far away from home. Whether your child is going away to college far, or staying within state, a new transition begins for everyone. This new transition will change the energy within your home and within your lives.
Even when your child is happy to begin this new college phase in their life it doesn’t come without nervous energy and some uncertainty thoughts. As parents, we too are faced with the what ifs. My daughter will be going off to college in August. Our first born! We are so excited for her yet so sad she is leaving the home. We will miss her terribly and her beautiful smile and happy attitude brings us so much gratitude. We will miss that. And since we are going through this, we know so many other parents are going through the same transition. So, we came up with a few tips to help you tackle the good-byes and make it a positive smooth transition as much as possible.
1. Saying goodbye is never easy so don’t wait. Waiting until the very end to say goodbye to friends, family and loved ones can be too difficult. Try and hang out with your child as much as possible. Also, let your child hang out with
the people they will miss the
most as often as they can until they must leave. Here might be a good time to share your own goodbye experiences.
2. This is an extension of #1. Don’t feel insulted if your teen doesn’t want to spend as much time with you as they do their friends orboyfriend/girlfriend. I keep telling myself, she will indeed miss us when she’s gone so let her make her plans where she feels the most comfortable right now.
3. Planning an outing or two. If your teen is up for it, plan an outing or a special dinner with them. You will get their undivided attention and candid conversation. If they aren’t up for this revert to #2.
4. Be honest with how you feel. My daughter knows how very sad I am for her to leave but she also knows how excited I am for her to be able to have this amazing experience. She has prepared herself for many facetime calls and multiple texts, or at least one a day to put me at ease. Laying out how I feel and what I may need from her while she is gone has set expectations for us both. She knows how much I love her and how her absence will really be difficult on me. Our world is super connected so it should be easy for us to connect on a regular. This puts my mind at ease.
5. Send them off with a memory or two. Lots of pictures of what makes them happy to fill their dorm room with. In addition to this, my husband and I have created a “wishes for the graduate” jar. During her graduation party we will have a jar filled with advice from friends and family. When she’s having a home-sick day or just feeling defeated the little notes within this jar are sure to pick her spirits up.
If your teen is like mine, they have spent the last 12-13 years with the same group of friends and school acquaintances. Some aspects of their routine were boring, exciting, painful, or insightful. The uncertainty of a new routine, in new places with new people can feel exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time for them and for us parents. Tearful goodbyes remind of us of just how lucky we are and just how lucky we will be when we reunite. I am looking forward to hearing new stories from my daughter. I can’t wait to hear about the new people in new places that bring her so many different emotions. It’s part
of life and I just must keep reminding myself of that. So, in your goodbye, just know that I am thinking about you and your teen as well as they embark on their new journey. And we embark on our own.
So much love and support — Allison