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Every stage of parenting has its own unique challenges. When kids are little, parents often feel they don’t get any time to themselves. When kids get older, parents often yearn for more time with their kids as they are busy with school, activities and friends. When children move out to go to college or start a job, this can bring a whole new dynamic to your household and your relationship with your child.
Seeing your child gain independence and take the next step in life is also rewarding. Pat yourself on the back for all the love, support and time you devoted to your child to get to this point.
You may also get some time, energy and space back as your child is living away. Think about how you can use those resources now that your home life and schedule is different.
Remind yourself of all of the other stages you have went through and conquered throughout your child’s life – sleeping through the night, potty-training, Kindergarten, teenage hormones, etc. You and your child handled those stages and moved on to the next. You can conquer this transition as well.
Tell your child how you feel and that you will be adjusting to this as well. If they understand where you are coming from, they may be more likely to answer when you call or text you to let you know how things are going. Discuss how frequently you would like to communicate so you are both on the same page.
This transition will be tough on parents but it will also be a new normal for younger siblings. Help find ways to spend more time with them and talk about their feelings. Plan visits for the whole family and encourage them to communicate often through text, video or phone calls to help keep those sibling relationships going.
Talk to other parents going through the same thing. It will be good to voice your feelings and also know that you are not the only one going through this. Talk to your EAP provider if you need additional support.