When Your Kid Leaves Home
When you’re used to having your kids around all the time and suddenly they’re living at college, it’s a huge change for both kids and their parents. I joked recently about all the positives about your kids going off to school – though some of them weren’t really jokes.
Most of us dread the unknown of what it’s going to be like when our kids aren’t home.
Parents of High School seniors fear this huge hole that’s going to be in their life. We think we’re going lose all will to live when our babies are off in the cold, cruel world.
That’s not entirely true.
OK, it isn’t even remotely true.
The fact is, I don’t miss my daughter.
That doesn’t mean I don’t love her. It means I have yet to sit in a cold dark room on the emotional edge of the abyss praying for some ludicrous string of events that keeps my child safe AND has her coming home.
For the last half of High School and into her senior summer, my daughter was itching to move out of the house. The thing is, I was itching for her to get out, too… and I’m not sorry about that. Does that make me a bad parent? I don’t thinks so. Being a full-time parent is exhausting work – and that doesn’t knock how tough co-parenting is, either. I was more than ready hang up the parenting mold.
She HAD to go!
… for her sake and for mine. This is something that kids really do have to do. They have to grow up. They have to learn to go it alone, be responsible for themselves, make their own decisions. If we’ve done our jobs as parents, they’ll be just fine.
They’ll actually be better than fine. They’ll be functional adults.
Let’s face it. I think we all have that friend that isn’t quite a functioning adult and we sure don’t want our kids to be that friend, right?
Tech is a double-edged sword. A good part of the reason I don’t miss my daughter is that I have 24-7 access to her anyway via text. FaceTime or Viber means I can actually see her and talk to her, albeit scheduled in between classes.
She also randomly texts me on a Tuesday afternoon which brightens my day no matter how good I’m already doing. Here and there, I’ll send her some silliness that I come across… or am doing.
With the quick, near real time, access and ability to easily share our lives through live stream and pictures, it really doesn’t feel as much different than when our kids are at home – and almost identical to sending them off to summer camp.
The key, though, is that I had a strong, stable – a little strained – relationship with my child up through the time she left for college. That’s another reason I don’t feel the nagging hole of nothingness calling me.
I don’t feel like I missed out on x, y, or z.
This is where technology can work to our dis-advantage. If you’re worrying about what it’s going to be like when your child(ren) leave for college – or get their first job – take a look at your real live in-person relationship.
When it feels like we know their email address a little better than their face, we need to take a break from the technology, ensuring we don’t regret not spending enough time with our kids before they leave.
You know the saying: “Idle hands are the Devil’s play-thing.”
Keep yourself busy. I don’t mean busy at your job. I mean take advantage of the extra time you have and join that book club, try indoor rock-climbing, practice after work siestas <- These are great!
If there’s an “I’ve always wanted to…”, now’s the time to do it. If you’ve got a bucket list, start checking items off. If you feel completely worn out from the marathon of child rearing, give yourself a break… like a month break… traveling to some amazing place. If you don’t know one, I’ve got a list of ‘em.
Before you know it, your kids are back home for a holiday, a break, or even some random event one of their friends at home is having.
Your kids really aren’t that far away.