The transition between from school and colleges onto Uni can be filled with emotions and anxieties for all involved. As most articles deal with the practicalities of this event for the students, this one takes the parent’s view.
Parents generally feel positive about the youngsters going to Uni, proud and excited too, but can also feel anxious that they’re going to be okay, settle in, and have a good experience.
Obviously, every family is very different. Everyone feels things differently. So each family’s experience of this period will be different too. So there are no hard and fast rules on how you should or shouldn’t be as a parent during this emotive time. It’s a question of dealing with it as you feel at the time.
But a little forethought does help. So following are some general tips up front that might ease the transition:
- Planning the practicalities up front (packing, preps, journeys, timings) focuses the attention on the practical rather than emotional and can be helpful and calming. But don’t overdo it!
- It’s not a time for voicing your own anxieties to the youngsters (that’s what partners and friends are for), it’s a time to be ready to listen to theirs and openly discuss positive outcomes that could ensue or fall back strategies if required. Respect their insecurities, but be reassuring
- Read the signs. This is probably their first adventure into true independence. And time for parents to step back and allow it. Resist the desire to take charge and make everything perfect and allow them to do their own preps and packing – mistakes even – if they want, being ready to step in if they ask. Taking over, though, can undermine their growing independence and confidence
- Keep it light. Some families find partings easy. For some it’s a wrench. Everyone deals with this emotive separation in different ways. Some kids want you to butt out the minute they land at their new digs. Others are clingy. Be prepared to go with the flow. Keeping it as lightweight as possible is the best for everyone and doesn’t put pressure on the youngsters
- Express your love without it being a demand for theirs. No youngster is too old for a long strong hug, or a cuddle on the settee the night before – that’s if they want one! You shouldn’t be afraid of expressing love in your own family way, (it may not be hugging), doing so without it being cloying or pressurised. But it’s important for kids to know they are loved and that moving on will not change this.