So you’ve gotten the hard part out of the way. Your student has selected which college they will attend, congratulations. The next few months will go by quickly and will be filled with emotions and transitional ups and downs.
For our oldest daughter, I found myself both observing her choices leading up to move in day and also pulling teeth for others. What I didn’t anticipate was the mediation that I would need to provide between my wife and my daughter. We totally underestimated the separation anxiety that almost brought everything to a screeching halt.
Here are some things that helped us that may help you….
1. Don’t let them fall.
As first generation college going parents, we’ve had to adopt a level of resilience and grit to help us make it through tough situations. The hurdles that we overcame can seem to blur our vision as parents. We tend to want to make our students suffer into success. Stop it!
Each human is unique and we can’t expect them to dial up resilience at will, so we need to be better listeners and by all means, don’t let the train come off the tracks. Our students are becoming young adults and they are not going to go from us waking them up for school to learning how to complete chunks of paperwork on time (I know my child).
2. Set a budget.
Hopefully you’ve set up a bank account through your bank or credit union that will allow you to transfer funds for free to your student, but keep an eye on those transfers. Sit down and determine what the monthly cost of hygiene products and the occasional off campus meal will cost and send it monthly. We automated a direct deposit to our college and boarding school children and we were amazed at how well they managed it. Reducing their anxiety of having to ask can be better for both of you. This is also a good time for parents and caregivers to discuss how they will handle the out of rotation money requests. I’m the blank check in our family, so the kids know if they ask me, I’m going to just send it more times than not, so we always check with mom first!
3. Engage the school.
There is a language and context that you are not going to always be privy to at your child’s school. Take a moment and follow the official social media accounts of the campus your child attends and learn the major events and traditions of the campus. These pseudo holidays may cross over into some of your family traditions, but if you are able to understand a bit more of what is happening on campus, you may be able to connect and bond with your student over them.
I hope you have a chance to spend some quality time together before the big transition. You’ve got a network of people who’ve gone through the same thing. Let’s connect!