Helping Your Child Leave Home

Today’s blog article written by Ellen Shapira, MA, NCC, NCCC, Education & Career Counselor.

If you are the parent of a young adult who is about to begin their college years, you may have a number of concerns as the departure date becomes closer. You may be worried about your child’s emotional maturity and whether he or she will be able to cope with the demands of college life; you may be concerned about how you as a parent will adjust to their departure and what will your new home life be like; or you may have concerns about how your student will cope with the practical daily demands of everyday life that you will no longer provide.

Parents naturally want to protect their children and make their lives easier and more pleasant, but at what price? As children get older, parents need to be less and less involved with their daily lives, gradually teaching new self-management skills and allowing them to develop their own coping strategies. Learning how to solve life’s small problems is required for young people to grow into adulthood with the necessary skills to handle life’s larger problems. Going off to college for the first time is the first major test of these coping skills.

Technology such as cell phones and e-mail have made it possible for college students and their parents to remain in almost constant contact despite being actually hundreds of miles apart, thus fostering helicopter parenting behaviors. However, parental over-involvement during the college years can hinder the development of competency, self-esteem and independence needed not only for college success but also for effective transition into adulthood. What is the level of parental involvement that is appropriate?

Being the parent of a college student brings about many changes for the parent as well. Sending a child off to college signals the end of the “active parenting” stage and bring about many emotional changes for the parent. Is this a happy time where a parent feels relieved to have more personal time or is there a profound sadness of losing this role? Or are both emotions present for the parent and he or she maybe feels guilty about those feelings.

These issues will all be discussed at a workshop, Helping Your Child Leave,on Monday August 1 at 7:00 PM. Please call (502) 452-6341 to register or check out the website, www.jfcslouisville.org for more information.

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