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Dealing with a teen leaving home

How to deal when your teen is about to leave the nest

Dealing with a teen leaving home

Q: Of course I want my teen to go to college, but I’m a wreck about it, too. How can I deal with her leaving?

A:You announced her birth everywhere and even put a bumper sticker on your minivan that said “Baby on Board.” You have never missed a significant event in her life. You talk to your child seven times a day.

Congratulations, you are a helicopter parent.

The good news is that you are in touch with your child and she knows she is loved. The bad news is that your child is heading off to college.

How will you deal with the sobering reality that your child will be living on her own and making her own decisions?

First, accept that the college years are for exploring, learning, growing and making mistakes. Yes, mistakes. We all learn valuable lessons from our failures.

Second, get a grip. Your child needs to know how to make decisions to survive in college and afterward, so let her start practicing now in high school. Put her in situations where she needs to make her own decisions, and keep your advice to yourself.

Colleges understand the challenge of the separation anxiety students and parents face. And we are here to help. Many colleges have parent advisory boards or councils. Get involved with the college to funnel your energy into productive uses, like recruitment or fund-raising.

Most colleges also run parent orientations and parent sessions at open house events. Volunteer to share your experiences with other families.

The college selection process can be very stressful on the whole family. Be there for your children and assist them when asked, but in the end, let them make the choices they feel are best for them.


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