It is that time of year: the kids are back in school. Maybe that’s cause for celebration. Maybe you crave the return to a “normal” schedule. Maybe you are nervous about sending your oldest child to school for the first time. Maybe you are depressed about sending your youngest child off to college hours away.
Here is what to remember: it is okay to feel that way, no matter what emotion back-to-school time brings for you. The important part as a parent is how you handle the transition.
For those of you who tear up at the thought of your child spending less time with you, keep in mind that having your child ready to take on a challenge without you by their side is a sign you are doing your job well. School plays an important role in developing socialization and independence skills.
Want to celebrate when your child leaves for school? No problem. But think of your child and hold off on that celebration long enough that they do not see you. You do not want your child to feel unwanted.
Then there comes the time you send your child off to college, possibly several hours or several states away. It is fair to be concerned how they will handle living on their own. And you may be upset at the thought of not hearing from them for long stretches of time. But that long time without hearing from them is a good sign. It means they are comfortable taking care of themselves. And if you do hear from them often, take the opportunity to ask them how they are doing and provide the support they may be craving.
When your baby leaves for college, empty nest syndrome may be a concern. That could bring on the blues, or it could be a great opportunity to focus on all those things you put aside to raise your children. Resume that hobby you used to have or pick up a new one. Visit that destination you have always wanted to see. Heck, you could even go back to school yourself.