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Coping Strategies for Parents

It's important for parents to remember that starting college means changes for their adult children as well as themselves.  There are many difficulties that parents may face when sending their adult child to college and we have developed a short guide of how to cope with those changes.

Recognize that ambivalence is normal.
As your adult child leaves for college you may feel a mix of emotions. You may feel nostalgic about the “early years” or apprehensive about the separation. At the same time you may be looking forward to more peace and quiet at home or to spending more time with other family members. All of these reactions are normal.

Feel the emotions. Don’t pretend that you are unaffected by the transition of your adult child leaving home. A healthy approach is to talk about your emotions with family, friends, or whoever is a support to you.

Pay attention to staying healthy. Exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate sleep are important to your health, especially during stressful times. If you feel good, you will be able to provide support to your adult child. Remember that you are a role model for your adult child who may be experiencing a lot of stress in the upcoming year. If he or she observes your healthy lifestyle, they may replicate it.

Acknowledge the importance of this milestone. You have just spent 18+ years guiding and teaching your adult child to become a productive member of society. Now, it is time to put into practice all that you have taught him or her. Remember that by providing your adult child an opportunity to go to college, you have given him or her a priceless gift. Take pride in this accomplishment.

Find an outlet for yourself. Remember, it is normal for your adult child to become active in a life separate from the family. Don’t take it personally when your adult child does not have the same time for you, and you have more time on your hands. Consider exploring a new hobby, making new friends, or completing an unfinished task. Engaging in activities that provide new challenges can help you re-channel the energies previously spent on your adult child.


Roosevelt University Counseling Center
430 S. Michigan Ave. AUD 470 - Chicago, IL 60605
1400 N. Roosevelt Blvd. Rm 114 - Schaumburg, IL 60173 - (312) 341-3548