Watching your child transition from a young adult into adulthood, all while packing them up to send them to college, can have an emotional impact. The event often impacts parents and their children. On one hand, your child feels the excitement of freedom and the opportunity to finally branch out on their own. On the other hand, you and your child might be sharing feelings of anxiety, doubt, and worry. Fortunately, there are ways that you and your child can both deal with the situation, so you can better assist your child during the transition phase.
To better assist your child, you need to make sure you get yourself settled first. If you are upset or emotionally distraught at the thought of your child growing up and heading off to college, you are not likely to provide the support needed. There are some coping skills that can help you achieve the strength and confidence needed to both help and support your child as they transition from being a young adult to adulthood. Coping skills include:
- Learning to redefine – Develop new hobbies and interests so you can identify yourself as something other than just a parent
- Rekindle your relationship – Rather than focusing on the emptiness of your home as a bad thing, take the time to rekindle the romance between you and your spouse
- List your dreams – Work with your spouse to create a list of things you want to do but couldn’t while you were raising children (going back to school, starting a new hobby, going on vacation, etc.)
- Join social groups – Find groups of other empty nesters who are experiencing similar feelings so you can make friends and cope together
By dealing with your own empty nest symptoms, you can improve your mentality, thus allowing yourself to help your child transition from a young adult into adulthood. If you feel depressed, saddened, or overwhelmed by the thought of your child leaving home, you are less likely going to be able to help them transition successfully. If you have trouble coping, consider the benefits that therapy can offer.
Assisting Your Child
Sometimes it is worry for your child that causes you to feel stressed and anxious. Does your child know how to do laundry? Can they prepare their own meals? Do they know what to do when they get sick? Do they know how to budget and price shop? These are simple tasks, and yet there are plenty of adults that do not know how to do them on their own. Take the time to show your child step-by-step what they need to know while living on their own or in a dormitory.
Some of the following tips can make your child more self-sufficient so that they can successfully morph from young adult into adulthood:
- Go over money management – Sit down with your child and discuss money management skills, tricks, and tips such as cutting coupons, balancing a budget or checkbook, and proper spending
- Make dinner together – Encourage your child to join you in the kitchen so you can prep meals together which will allow you to bond while also teaching your child valuable cooking skills – also, consider providing your child with some easy-to-make recipes they can take with them when they move
- Assign laundry duty – Your child needs to know how to do laundry properly, which means assigning laundry duty and then showing your child how to go through the motions of washing, drying, and folding
- Prepare for health care needs – Help your child setup a primary care physician and perhaps search through health insurance companies together so they can continue to maintain their healthcare needs after moving out
- Prepare for changes together – The best way you can successfully guide your child from young adult into adulthood is by planning for the changes that are to come, learning to overcome the obstacles, and accepting the challenges that lie before you both
The transition from young adult to adult is never easy. It is an emotional and challenging experience for both parents and children. However, the process can be made simpler and easier to deal with by following the tips above. If you are still struggling with the transition process, therapy can assist you. Setup an appointment for therapy to help you resolve any emotional issues you and your child are currently experiencing.
Monica Ramunda is a solution-focused therapist with an office in Louisville, Colorado. With a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and more than 18 years experience in therapy and counseling, Monica works as both a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Play Therapist (RPT) with adults and children respectively. Much of Monica’s success is based on her electronic orientation and drawing on a wide range of different approaches and techniques all while remaining strongly grounded in the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Techniques (CBT).