Off to College They Go

Off to College They Go by Fabienne Swartz

{2:14 minutes to read} Every August, anxious parents see their children off to college. In addition to learning about the psychological motivations of Grendel from Beowulf, they will also be learning about life. And that means they will become more independent from us, their parents.

For many, this change hits much harder than anticipated. Parents enter a weird limbo where they’re spending huge sums of money on tuition and books, yet their children want less and less to do with them. The nerve! To help navigate this uncharted territory, I thought I’d share a few points that resonated with me when my oldest went off to school. 

  • This is a huge transition. Your child is leaving the house! You’re going to have to grieve, just like all the other moms and dads. True, it’s a different kind of grieving where the person isn’t really gone, but you’re going to have to process it in the same way.
  • There is some natural overlap between being a friend and being a parent, but don’t expect to be your child’s friend anymore. They will seek advice from their peers rather than their parents.
  • Parents need to figure out how to communicate with their college student. You can schedule phone calls (weekly calls are a popular option) ahead of time. Don’t inundate your child with texts, and forget about email — they never use it! You can also look forward to six or seven-hour gaps between the time you send a text and the time your kid responds.
  • When your child comes home for breaks, you will need to redefine your relationship. As a parent, you will likely want to discuss what sort of arrangement would work for the entire family — and be the easiest to follow through with.

As the parent of a college kid, you want to make sure that they understand that you are there for them and that you’re going to support and help them. You will still be the best person to rely upon when facing hard times. Hopefully, there won’t be much need for it, but you’ll want your college student to feel safe calling you for help in any situation.

Unlike therapy, coaching is centered on the future. It provides an excellent staging point from which to launch your new relationship with your child. To learn more about how I can help, contact me.

Fabienne Swartz JD (Belgium) CDFATM
Certified Divorce Financial AnalystTM
www.financially-strong.com
500 Mamaroneck Av.
Suite 320
Harrison, NY 10528
(914) 798-6940

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