Parenting With Purpose: Letting Go, A Little

There’s always been talk about how parenting speeds up time, but you don’t really realize it until you’re actually a parent.

From diapers to college, it goes by in an instant.College 1

Parenting isn’t easy, you have challenges, but the love you have for your children outweighs any obstacles you face.

Suddenly, when you think you’ve mastered parenting and your kids are responsible, it’s time to send them off to college to begin their own lives.

“As much as you prepare for these moments, they never get easier,” shares Reena B. Patel, Positive Parenting Psychologist, and Licensed Educational Board Certified Behavior Analyst who recently experienced this firsthand. “Although we strive to protect our children and keep them safe, we must also let them grow, learn, and prosper. In spite of this, it doesn’t make it any easier for us, but as parents, we should model strength and a positive goodbye,” explains Patel.

Reena shares tips for parents who are living this parallel life of taking their children to college: 

  • Understand and communicate with your child when moments are tense and between you and your child due to stress, change, frustration, and sadness, sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint those moments but taking a step back and understanding where you and your child’s emotions are coming from is important.
  • Resist the urge to hover, give them space. It is common for parents to check in on their child every hour or so in the beginning, but it is important to resist the urge to keep track of every move your child makes.
  • Grieve the change and separation in your own time: Give yourself time to mourn
  • Don’t forget about your other kids, they will miss their siblings too, keeping busy and having that bonding time of talking about the changes is healthy.
  • Reconnect with your significant other, schedule a date night, go to the movies, and understand they are grieving too, everyone deals with grief differently

When communicating with your child after drop-off:

  • Be there for them in times of need.
  • Be empathetic and encouraging.
  • Don’t pry or ask too many questions.
  • Don’t judge 
  • Don’t compare 
  • Keep it light– Send pet pictures.
  • Allow them to open up on their own time
  • Come to an agreement and understanding of checking in. Though you want to hold back from calling every second, agree on a check-in once a day or twice a day, even a good morning text and/or goodnight, this will help keep your mind at ease and allow your child to have more freedom
  • Let your child communicate openly – as parents, you should be the one your child calls when they are struggling, whether or not you agree with the situation or condone it, you should listen to their needs and serve as that safety net and comfort. In some situations, it’s difficult for parents not to react, but it’s more important to maintain their trust.
  • Don’t rub things in – you have to understand your child may be grieving in their own way and acting out in different ways. Though they may seem happier than ever to be away from home, deep down they want to be missed. Sharing family dinners, outings, etc, could make them feel down and homesick, make sure they know they are missed and that it’s not the same without them.

Connect with Reena B. Patel by clicking here.

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