Heading to University is definitely a time of transition. There’s just no way to move through such a transition without feeling a little bit of excitement and even some loss. The excitement is easy to handle. The sense of loss or dislocation aka the ’empty nest syndrome’ is difficult… especially for parents.
How to ease on through the transition of your child heading to Uni:
- I’m sure you are already… but it’s time to build an adult relationship with your child. He/She is a young adult now with oodles of responsibility. Keep in contact with phone calls, e‐mails, letters and “care” packages but let them control the timing of these interactions to help maintain that sense of freedom.
- It’s time to focus on you a bit again but don’t overdo it. If you start a bunch of new things to try to “forget” then you’ll just be stuffing down your feelings. Allow yourself to grieve a bit and then focus on the things you enjoyed doing before your child began Uni.
- It’s okay that you adjust to this transition quickly. It’s also okay if it takes longer for you to “get over it”. Everyone is different. Each parent makes the adjustment in his or her own time.
- Work through your emotions on your own time. If you start sobbing every time you talk to them then they may feel bad about being in school.
- Don’t make it about you. Let your son/daughter focus on their activities.
They’re going to change and you need to deal with it.
Changes in eating/sleeping/hair styles/their view of themselves/their relationship with you. Be prepared and don’t make snap judgments. Their world view is changing and will continue to change. They’re learning how to become an adult. It will change and change often and it’s okay.
This is tough stuff here.
Conflicting feelings of excitement and loss are very real for both you AND your child. You’re being pushed and pulled between past, present, and future… one day they’re all like “I’m grown Mum. Leave me alone. I’m 18.” and the next day they’re all like “Why aren’t you helping me? I need you!”
Remember that you have taught your child SO much.
The foundation you have provided over the past 18 years will accompany your child across the miles and through the years. Remember you have raised your child, you have provided them with everything they need to be successful. Their greatest teacher is, and has always been, you. They know the difference between right and wrong and now they will have the chance to use it. There will be stumbling blocks and that’s okay.