“This is it…” so said Shelley, a mom in Essex, Connecticut as we started college counseling for her daughter. I had worked with all three of Shelley’s older children through the years of attending Valley Regional High School through their different colleges and even into career counseling for the oldest. Shelley knew what older parents do… “this is it….”.
I’m a father of three with my oldest in the same situation, about to head to college. The bittersweet thoughts of children leaving the nest cause me poignant moments. But I have learned from my older children and certainly hundreds of college counseling clients in the past, parents are still needed through life, or at least certainly young adulthood. However, parents are needed in a different way.
You will have big life discussions and/or give distinct practical advice on a myriad of issues. But you will not be compelled to manage (or micro-manage) the lives of your children any longer. There are some clear upsides. But I also understand the downsides in relation to meaning and purpose.
So, if your children are heading off to college soon, then getting them off right is one of the bigger things you can do as a parent.