Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sending off your college freshman: Nostalgia or Celebration

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In just a few weeks, families will be traveling to colleges and universities for the freshman move-in. For many moms and dads, this moment is very suddenly upon them. Many parents feel sad while their kids are elated. I had one dad tell me that his son Brian was his best friend and they did lots of things together. How could he possibly fill this hole?

On the other hand, one mom I talked to couldn't wait to have more mental and physical space in her home now that her daughter Morgan was leaving. That's because there were constant disagreements over boyfriends and house rules.

From the students point of view, it may be best to go easy on the nostalgia. It doesn't make it any easier for the student, if mom bursts into tears when you look at family pictures for instance. This is a time to celebrate an important step of independence. So it is not helpful to label a fun event, " the last movie" or "the last picinic" or the last trip to Six Flags. You may very well feel that way but try to deal with your sadness by talking to a religious counselor, family therapist, or even a close friend. There is no point in making the child feel guilty about going to college when this has been a goal for a long time. Appreciate them, enjoy them, and then let them go.

1 comment:

  1. Though it still feels like I'm emotionally adjusting to the fact that my oldest son will be heading off to Southern Methodist University in Dallas in ten days, I'm not finished with colleges yet!

    The next son in line will be a junior this year, which means that we need to start thinking about things like SAT's, college visits, and the application essay.

    I've recently published an article in the Genesee Valley Parent (, "How to Write a Winning College Essay" that other parents and students in the same boat might find helpful.

    Additionally I've been vising this blog frequently for helpful tips on how to make the college admissions process go smoothly for parents and teens.

    Thanks Lucia!