Kids Going to College: A Survival Guide for Parents

Having children changes your whole life. Once they’re born, everything starts revolving around their needs and their desires, leaving parents with little to no time for themselves. And you get used to it; you accept it and embrace it, out of pure and unconditional love. So, naturally, when they graduate from high school and move to Brisbane to study, your entire world shifts.  In order to avoid that dreadful hollowness in your home and your heart, there are things you can do to survive their departure and prevent yourself from experiencing too much stress.

Prepare your child

This is something you do for everyone’s sake. On the one hand, you help them get ready for the new life they’re going to lead, and on the other, you can put your mind at ease knowing that you did everything you could to make the transition easier on them.  One way to prepare them is to talk them through some things, and explain exactly how different everything will be for them once they have to take care of everything themselves. Another way is to teach them certain stuff, such as loading the washing machine, changing their bed sheets, doing basic banking or how to mail something. It may sound ridiculous, but these are the things that you’ve done for them until now, and they have no idea how to do them without you. Show them how to cook some simple meals, take them grocery shopping, so that they can learn how to choose their own groceries and what to pay attention to while shopping. Not only will you be teaching them how to deal with things they didn’t have to before, but you get to spend precious time with them before they leave. Help them find the best student accommodation Brisbane has to offer, so that they are close to their university. Also, they can choose whether they prefer living alone or with flatmates. Explain to them how much money they will receive from you and what they can count on. That way, if they don’t think that will cover all their needs, they can find a student job to earn some extra money. Make sure they know all the emergency services’ numbers in Brisbane, just to be on the safe side. If they have a car, help them figure out where to park it and if not, find the best bus or metro line to get them wherever they need to go. And make sure you pack them some basic tools, but also a few framed family photos, so that they can decorate their new living space and really make it their own.

Prepare yourself

Once you’ve prepared your child for moving to Brisbane, don’t forget to prepare yourself. It’s likely that they’ll want to spend most that last summer at home with their friends. Let them. This way you can slowly adapt to the fact that they’ll be leaving soon. And once you realize just how much time you’ll be left with, you can decide what to do with it. You might want to take up a hobby, start working out again, or take extra working hours at your job, but finding something to do with your time will help you stay afloat. It also may help to talk to your friends who have already sent their kids off to college. They could give you some valuable advice, but also provide you with valuable company once your kid’s away at university. Plan to visit your child in the first few weeks. That way you’ll get to see them when you miss them most, and you can help them settle in their new surroundings, as well as cook them a meal or two while you’re there. Before your kid leaves, they should show you how to use your phone and your computer to communicate with them for free, so that you can call them whenever you feel the need to. Let your child know that it’s difficult for you to let them go and that you’ll miss them. Tell them you’re only a phone call away, they can call you any time for support or advice and they can tell you anything that’s bothering them. They need to know you love them and you’re still their parent and their safe harbor, no matter how old they are and where they live.

Although there will be times you feel sad and missing your kids will probably hurt, don’t forget it’s just a natural course of things. You have to let them grow up. So, instead of feeling down, try to be happy that you raised them well and turned them into independent young people.