It is that time of year when those teenagers going to university are preparing to leave home. You may be dreading the day or you may be counting down the hours! Or you may be experiencing a mixture of emotions. This article helps to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Saying Goodbye To Your Teenager
Jessica O. Hunter, Psy.D. ~ 1 min read
Are any of us really ready to say goodbye to our teen when they leave for college?
Chances are there are mixed feelings.
We may feel sad and cannot imagine our home without our child in it but we may also feel ready to let go of picking up their dirty laundry, lack of communication, making sure our teen is on top of their assignments and waking our teen up for school every day.
In reality, it may be time that our teen goes out into the world, heads to college and becomes more independent…without us. It may also be time that we accept our mixed feelings and allow them to leave us and do so without strife.
But how do we do this in a healthy way? Setting a few boundaries can be helpful when our teen leaves for college and these boundaries can apply whether your teen is attending college locally or long distance. They can help us continue to develop a healthy relationship with our teen and even help in developing a more mature relationship.
Five Ways to Keep Open Communication
- Discuss what is under your teen’s control and what continues to be under parental control, such as: meal plans, academic finances, free spending. This will allow your teen and you to know the “rules”.
- Keep communication. This means that if for some reason your teen finds that budgeting or other issues arise while they are away, they are able to negotiate without consequence.
- Set a weekly or bi-weekly time to connect. Connecting to teens means texting and it is helpful to keep in contact through texting or social media sometimes but also make it part of the agreement that you talk on the phone or see each other face to face.
- Make sure that you have some face-to-face contact with your teen while they are at college, each of you will get more out of the interaction this way.
- Provide encouragement for your teen that they have made it into college and will enjoy the experience. Make sure they know this is about experience not yours
Whether you are ready for your teen to leave home or not, this can be a positive experience for both of you. It can also be a time when you get to know your teen and what they are capable of, outside of your home. You have the opportunity to see them flourish and grow in positive ways you never expected.
To learn more about how to prepare for and cope with when your teens leave for college, see
Give Them Wings: Preparing for the Time Your Teens Leave Home by Carol Kuykendall, 1998.