Even if you have eighteen years to prepare, it is never easy when your child goes off to college. Whether you are a first-time parent of a college student or you’re now an empty nester, letting your child leave home does not get easier.
Although you can’t change the fact that your child is going off to college, you can work to change how you feel about it. Feeling anxious about this new change in both of your lives is completely normal for parents. Mitigating this anxiety is within your control.
Embrace the change.
The first, and perhaps hardest, way that you can deal with your anxiety surrounding your child’s departure to college is by embracing the change. Rather than trying to change your situation, try rewiring your thoughts. Instead of being fearful of what could go wrong, think of all the opportunities your son or daughter will be receiving in college.
When you change your thought process into a growth mindset, it allows you to think of the positives. The new challenge of parenting from afar will give you the opportunity to become a better teacher. Your child will be able to grow into adulthood. This will help rewire your anxiety into positive thoughts.
Develop coping mechanisms.
Once your child has left for college, it is time for you to put your coping mechanisms into place. Try joining a friend’s book club or see if there are any painting classes in your area. Developing hobbies outside of parenting will help you foster your own interests. In turn, this will allow you to become more rooted in yourself and bolster your confidence.
On top of activities outside of parenting, try scheduling a weekly video call with your son or daughter. This standing date will help you feel more connected with your child. It will also help reduce fears surrounding a lack of communication by having time built into your weekly schedule.
Recognize your child’s support system.
Despite your child living on their own for the first time, their support system does not automatically go away. Not only do they still have you, their parent, to support them from afar, but they also have access to a brand new network of people in their college. Classmates, advisors, and professors are all there to provide support for one another.
In addition to the new faces your student will meet on their college campus, their college will also likely offer free forms of therapy. Consider looking into this for your child before they head off to campus come fall. This way, you both will be aware of all the options that are available to them.
Talk to others.
The anxiety surrounding your child going to school is completely normal. You are not the first parent to get nervous thinking about their son or daughter flying the nest. Setting up your own support system is vital when it comes to taking care of your own mental health.
Try reaching out to the parents of your child’s high school classmates. They will likely be going through feelings similar to yours. When the time comes for the new freshman to head off to campus in the fall, you will have friends who know what you are going through as well. On top of a new support system, do not isolate yourself from your family and friends. They will help you navigate these tricky waters.
If you find that your anxiety is not lessening as the school year goes on, it may be time to seek out professional help. It’s important to take care of yourself, and you should never feel ashamed to reach out for help. Our office is here to help. Give us a call when you’re ready to get started.