The Empty Nest & Memory Lane

The Empty Nest & Memory Lane

After 18 years of parenting, it can be hard to let go. Any time a student leaves home to go to college, it can be a stressful situation for both parents and students. Things can be a little tense the last few weeks before heading off to college between children and their parents. The reality is that students are nervous about such a big change and change, in general, can be stressful for anyone! Leaving behind what is familiar and venturing into unknown territory can be frightening.

There will be many times you?ll want to jump in and fix problems for your child. Letting go is a challenging transition. However, the best thing you can do for each other is to reassure your child, and yourself, that you will all make it through this transitional period. Karen Levin Coburn, an associate dean at Washington University wrote a more in-depth and really fantastic article over at the Great Schools website. Really worth the read, I promise!

We wanted to give a few of our own as well, as we know first hand how hard it is when children leave the nest! Many of you know we are a Father-Daughter business and I still remember the tearful goodbye when my parents left me in Philadelphia to head back to Connecticut! So with that memory we?ve put together some helpful tips to handling your child leaving the nest!

There was this quote circulating on Facebook a few years ago:

Attention Freshman who are moving in tomorrow: A little request… when your Mom wants to unpack all of your clothes and make your bed – let her. When your Dad wants to introduce himself to all the people on your floor – let him. When they want to take pictures of every move you make this weekend – let them. If they embarrass you or act crazy – let them. As you start the new chapter of your life, they are also starting the new chapter of your life, they are also starting a new chapter of theirs. Believe it or not, this is probably more difficult for them than it is for you. So let them treat you like their “baby” one more time!

Now here?s my Top 3 helpful tips on some questions you may have:

  1. Since every night phone calls are definitely out of question, what?s a middle ground?
    Many students withdraw a little, establishing their sense of independence, so don?t be alarmed or take it personally! Some may not call or text very often, while others may be in constant contact! If this is the case, the more reassurance you can offer and the more trust you display, the more you will encourage independence and the stronger they?ll become.
  2. What about homesickness?
    If your child hasn?t spent much time away from home and specifically, without you, it may be more difficult for them. If they?re at a college pretty close to home ? encourage them to stay on campus! There is so much to do on college campus? through Campus Activity Boards they?ll be missing out on making memories, new friends and new adventures. By getting ?connected? with other students and organizations, students become active members of their new community. Reassure them that their first order of business, and really their main job, is to focus on life at school, academically and socially. Send care packages ? Students love those!
  3. How can I make sure they?re doing okay, without smothering them?
    Your role is morphing into more of a coach than it ever was before. Parents often want to rush in and fix a problem but helping them figure out how to tackle their problems instead will help them moving forward. Help them to examine the options and consequences and as much as possible and support them. You might even share examples from your own life about how they turned out, reassuring them that theirs will too!

How can Charter Oak help?

Let us recapture their old baby videos and pictures! Embarrass them over the upcoming holidays with a digital collection of videos and pictures from their baby years through their first days of school. We can even integrate their newer digital pictures of high school graduation and the parties that came after.

So let us know how we can help you walk down memory lane while you make the transitions yourself! I hope our tips were helpful!