So this little kid of yours is a big guy/ girl now, and yet you are hesitant to accept this huge change. Indeed, you are happy and excited about the fast growth of your child, but you can’t help feeling a tinge in your throat as well. Sending your kid to the scary and tempting world of college is something that you have always aspired and dreamt, but it is really difficult to part with him/ her. What we advise is to take a leap of faith and follow the following set of tips. Eventually, you will feel better about sending your kid away from you.
Give them emotional support
You and your child (who has just become a college student) are having some kind of emotion swings. Both of you are happy and excited for the opportunities and big world awaiting him/ her outside, yet this change is pinching you from inside. There is nothing unusual in the emotions you are experiencing; change makes us all a little afraid. Your college freshman is excited for the freedom he is going to have, and at the same time stressed out for not having the comfort and safety he used to have.
What we suggest is to give your child emotional support and give him the confidence to flow with that change. This you can do, by giving him some time to ponder and analyze things himself. Of course, you shouldn’t leave him all alone. Have a talk. Share your own experience. If you never went to college, you’ve surely gone through a transforming experience that taught you a valuable lesson. Tell your kid that the new environment will bring lots of challenges. He will need to stay committed, determined, and capable of fighting distractions. Not everything will be perfect, but his parents will always be there to show support.
Help your child in packing for the college stuff
Another thing that you can do and you ought to do is to help him while packing the stuff for college. You can make suggestions about the clothes he is taking to college (but can’t impose, off course) and you can help in packing the stuff related to his hobbies. This would raise the confidence level in your child and give him strength to deal with his emotional conflicts. If you leave the packing entirely to him, he will face the confusion of the new stage of his life before it even begins. He will most likely forget to pack warm clothes and blankets, and you don’t want that to happen, do you?
Teach your son/daughter a lesson on organizing and show how proper packing is done. Make a list of all necessary things and ask him if he would add something. Packing is not done in a day, especially if you’re sending him to a distant city or another country. Take your time to plan!
Give them freedom
Parents don’t want to accept the fact that college life is linked to parties, friendships, and most likely alcohol. Some of them go so far that they install GPS on their kids. You need to understand that having fun is part of being young. Do you plan to call your kid several times each night just to make sure he’s sober? That would fall under the definition of bad parenting. If you were a controlling parent when your child was still in high school, it will be more difficult for you to face these changes. However, it’s not impossible.
Never forget this one thing: your child is going to a big world. He must know how to live independently. You can’t control him anymore and you ought not to. This would make him feel suffocated. Let him avail the opportunities and taste the new toasts awaiting there to the fullest. If you give a college student the needed freedom, he would feel confident and decisive while taking any step.
Discuss matters with him
Your kids are going to be adults now, so don’t hide the things from them that you used to hide from them as kids. Discuss matters with them. Discuss with them financial matters; earnings, spending, savings etc, academic matters; about the choice of subjects and their life at campus. Tell them about the importance of hard work and staying focused, but never impose too many expectations on them.
You were young once, weren’t you? Remember how you felt when you weren’t capable of meeting your parents’ standards. No matter how hard you tried, they always wanted you to be something more and never accepted you for who you were. Don’t be that parent. Even if you feel disappointed in your kid’s achievements at college, you shouldn’t approach him with judgments. Ask him what the problem is. Talk to him and try to help.
Be more open to them
As it has been mentioned earlier that you are parents of big kids now, so treat them like adults. Be more open to them. They are not babbling kids and you must forget that namby shamby about not telling things to kids. Talk to them about relationships and even crimes going on in campus and in the world around. They would help them to accept the change they are about to make. This would help them in feeling like adults.
P.S. stay connected with them, but not too much, for they have a life of their own outside.