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Adjusting To College

•Adjusting to College: It’s A Family Affair•

Your kid is about to move out and on to college. It’s a big deal.  Not just for them, but for the whole family.  Parents of rising college freshmen all over the country are feeling it. The summer before college is all about getting them ready – making sure they have what they need to easily adjust to college life.  But what about you and the rest of the family? You’ll have your own adjusting to do.

Right now you’re probably feeling a little emotional, perhaps even tearing up when you picture yourself saying goodbye to your beloved overgrown child.  (One friend’s husband was so nostalgic, he obsessively texted his wife old photos of their kids every day that summer.)  Maybe you’re arguing with your kid more than usual… Is this nature’s way of getting you ready to let go once and for all?  And why are teens so rebellious and contrary during this time, making you long for move-in day? Think about it.  Your kid is about to move on to a big unknown.  They are moving to a strange, new place, away from the comforts of home.  They are leaving their trusted friends behind and have to start all over and make new ones. They’re excited and ready but also a little anxious.

So we are all a train wreck during the bittersweet transition to college. But you can adjust and make the transition a bit smoother and you will get through it.  How?  Be the grown-up.  Acknowledge it, accept it and ease up.  Let your kid get away with some snarky behavior; don’t take it personally.  Share some of your feelings with them, ask them what they are looking forward to most and ask about their fears.  And take the time to listen. Really listen.  And, of course, assure them that they are ready for all that lies ahead, and that you will be there when and if they need you.

It is at this time that you will begin developing a new relationship with your adult child.  One that fosters independence and also lets them know they can still count on you. You want them to stay connected to you but you need to let them go to make that happen. Treat them like independent adults, capable of making their own decisions, and they will rise to the occasion.

How’s your summer going? How are your other kids feeling about their brother or sister going off to college? KnowsyMoms wants to know! Share your thoughts below.

About to be an empty nester?  That’s an even bigger adjustment. And an entirely different post. Stay tuned…


Want to know more? Here are some books and articles you might find helpful:

You’re On Your Own (But I’m Here If You Need Me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years, by Marjorie Savage

Transition to College: Separation and Change for Parents and Students, by Jess P. Shatkin, MD, MPH

Letting go: Tips for parents of new college students, by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow: College Transition Tips for Parents, by Julia Taylor

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