Across The Miles: Coping When Your Child Goes To A Distant College
Of all the challenges that parenting brings into your life, there is nothing quite like your child going off to college.
On one hand, you are fiercely proud of them, delighted that their hard work and application is paying off. You’re excited for their future and what you think they will achieve.
On the other hand, you’re going to miss them hugely. This matter can be all the further complicated if they are going to a very distant college. So many parents have to face this situation; they live in Maine and their child is browsing ASU apartments for rent; Floridian parents who have to deal with their child going to Berkeley; proud Colorado-living parents with their child off to Harvard— these situations are realistic, and acutely difficult to cope with. For the last 18 years, you’ve spent almost every night under the same roof as your child– now they are going to be thousands of miles away.
If you’re facing the same situation, the tips below might help you cope with it.
Research Your Transport Options
The idea of not being able to immediately rush to your child’s side if you’re needed is a tough one, but research can help you resolve it. Spend a little time online, figuring out your options for traveling to their college on short notice. Look at all of your options, from flights to driving time, and write the results of your searches down. These are rough plans that you will be glad you can turn to if you do suddenly need to rush across the country. In the meantime, just knowing that you’re semi-prepared can make a big difference.
Make A Standing Date For Contact
When your kids go off to college, it’s normal for the first few weeks for contact to be sporadic. They have a lot going on, a lot of new experiences to absorb– but of course, that doesn’t make life any easier for you. Try and agree a standing date when you will talk to one another, be it by Skype or by phone, and encourage them to stick with it. Once every three days is fine during their first few weeks away, then try and lengthen that to once per week.
Find A Focus
After the initial move, it helps to find a hobby or another focus that can distract you from worrying. Try and keep this simple; something that makes you smile, or just distracts you from concern about your child. So long as it dominates your thoughts and gives you something to focus on, it will serve its purpose.
Talk To People
It’s entirely normal to struggle to cope with your child going to college, and this is even more difficult if they are at a far-distant college. It’s important to talk to your friends and family about how you’re coping, or even consider seeing a therapist if you’re really struggling. Having an outlet for your feelings is invaluable; there’s no need to expect yourself to be okay, so don’t put any pressure on yourself.
Despite all the difficulties, it is possible for both you and your child to make the most of the experience you are going through. They may be at a far-away college, but that maternal connection will always be there, and your house will always be ‘home’ to them.
Disclosure: This is a contributed post.