College Goodbyes

College Goodbyes


Late summer is the time of year when kids leave home for college, many for their first year away from home. Maybe one of them is your child. Are you ready for him or her to leave?

Unless you have already gone through this with another son or daughter, it may be hard to realize the impact it will have. You may say to yourself, “I can do this, no problem. I’m in control of my emotions.” But it could be harder than you thought it would be. It’s a loss that has many similarities to grieving.

The realization of your loss may already be sinking in and your reluctant adjustment to it may have taken a long time to develop. Emotional ups and downs may have started slowly over the last few years of high school, but now are probably in full force. This cycle of emotion usually starts at some random time during your child’s high school years. Maybe a weekend college tour or a piece of college mail set you off into a minor depressive episode. Perhaps you are feeling you are losing your normal control or power over your child’s life. Does it feel like your hold on them is slipping away?

Some of you who have college-aged kids may be less affected by a change like this, thinking, “Finally! I’ve earned this time off!”. But it can still feel very sad and may seem like a departure to a new, but emptier day-to-day life. Having family around can soften the blow, but your child leaving home will still feel like a deep loss.

You will be losing their presence and constant activity in the home. You won’t know where they are all the time. You’ll keep their phone busy but they won’t be a participant in your daily life. The house will be less active and noisy. You’ll ask yourself – Are they safe?

Remember, this is a normal stage of life that our children need us to go through as smoothly as possible. Show them strength and confidence that you are ok. Despite the impending shift in your life, the journey ahead will get better and you’ll adjust over time and transition into their college years.