Earlier this week I shared Coping When Kids Leave Home Part I. Today, I would like to share the second part of that post, Coping When Kids Leave Home Part II. As I mentioned, it is more than just seeing your kids less. It is a new season. It is a reason to celebrate. You and your child made it through the growing up years. They are ready to leave the nest and start a new season in their life. However, as a parent it is challenging to see our kids move forward without us. How do we let go of one season in our relationship with our child in order to allow a new one to bloom?
Coping When Kids Leave Home
Allow Your Child to Contact You
This was hard. I wanted to hear from my kid… like yesterday. So it was very difficult to wait and not be the one to initiate all the contact. I would try to just send a quick text letting him know I was thinking of him without the expectation of a lot in return. And I may or may not have just happened to join Facebook around that time…only to find that the kids weren’t posting much there. Thanks a lot Facebook…OH LOOK here are all my friends!!:)
Some teens may want to check in with their parents daily and let them know all that is going on with them. Others may appreciate a little space. So its OK to give them an opportunity to reach out on their own and not “check on them” everyday. Skype ended up becoming the method that worked the best for us. I loved those chats, and it satisfied my mother’s heart when he was the one to reach out.
A few other ideas that I tried that helped (me) was staying abreast of the “local news” and sending mail. As it turns out, kids still LOVE to receive mail. I know when I was younger that we all checked our mailbox daily. But in this high tech day I wasn’t sure if kids cared about snail mail. However, our son was super appreciative of any letter I sent. A family friend of ours sent over a package, and I heard about it from him right away. It was also comforting to listen online to the university chapel sermons, that the students all attended. I felt like I was staying up with his local news.
Be Ready to Help AND Not Help
Since we have two older boys, you would think I would have seen a pattern by now of when they will contact us. Nope!
They may contact us to get a recipe but not to ask for help in buying their next vehicle. They may text us to ask for help with next semester’s schedule but wait 2 days to tell us if they passed that major test.
So try to just allow yourself to be proud when your kids are handling things on their own. And then savor the moments when they “call mom or dad” to ask for support. This mindset helped me to not be so disappointed when they no longer wanted/ needed my help. It can be hard to not feel needed anymore. But you are still so important. They just may need your help in a different way.
So give your relationship with your young adult an opportunity to grow and shift. It can’t stay like it was so it is going to have to change. And while change is not necessarily fun it is vital to the health of your relationship!
Be Prepared for THAT Phone Call
Chances are something is going to go wrong. They will face a deep disappointment or crisis. And all you will be able to do is listen. You probably won’t be able to fix it.
And I’m sorry that you may be far away from them and not able to go to them to comfort them. But they will get through this. And you will get through this too.
So try not to add to the panic. Listen. Give them helpful tips if you can. And then give them strength by reinforcing your belief that they can get through this.
You are entering a new season. As you say “good-bye” to one stage in life with this child treasure all those great memories you made. And believe that you will make plenty of new ones in this next season!
For my one son, I remember all those times reading together, riding our bikes through rain puddles and music lessons!
What are some of your best memories you had together with your child(ren)?
Do you have a friend who is soon saying good-bye to one of their kids? Read my post here on gifts for a stressed or weary friend.