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How to Process my Student Leaving for College

Whether it is your oldest child or baby of the family, dropping off your student for college is an emotionally charged experience. It is important to know that having any variety of mixed emotions makes sense; it is normal and even healthy. Parents commonly report happiness, nervousness, pride, excitement and grief. This sadness is often in regards to not just missing your student, but the change in the family system and relationships, as well as your child transitioning out of your home and into adulthood. Below are some tips to keep in mind when processing the adjustment period of this monumental transition:

  • Both parents do not always share the same emotional response. For instance, one might feel a sense of relief and freedom and the other a lack of control and feeling out of the loop. Neither response is right or wrong. Talk to one another working to truly hear and empathize with your partner.
  • Normalize your experiences by sharing your thoughts and feelings about the transition with other parents who have gone, or are going through this. You are certainly not alone.
  • Constantly work to give your student space and time to individuate while also staying in touch with phone or face-time conversations, texts or emails.
  • Follow the NEW leader. Allow your student the freedom and responsibility to determine how they want to navigate this transition and even renegotiate your relationship. Trust they will ask for your help that they want and need.
  • Work to redirect your focus toward personally meaningful projects that you may have been neglecting.
  • Have faith in the Boise State University system. Your student’s health, safety, education and personal growth are of greatest importance to us.
  • Don’t forget to send those Care Packages.