As we prepare for the kick off of another school year; school registration, school supply lists, book purchases etc,. I’ve noticed a shift in that tune in my home. We are still definitely doing all of those things but the conversation surrounding colleges have become the more pressing topic as our oldest daughter heads into her Junior year of high school. We are becoming more intentional about college options and careers. We are discussing all things “Moving on and in her case preparing for college.” However, I am reminded of what this time of year meant for me, my peers and how as a parent, there are some things we need to do to prepare ourselves.
I don’t think we are ever quite ready for our children to leave the nest. Some friends have shared that even after college, they still feel the need to parent their children and are worried about their behavior and the decisions they make. From personal experience, my mom was still 100% concerned about my decisions, career and even where I lived. As parents, we innately have these concerns and I don’t think it ever goes away, which makes us great parents by the way! In this season of transition though, we have to remember the importance of allowing our children’s wings enough bandwidth to soar. Keep this in mind...
You are officially a Cabinet Member - Yep, now that they are heading into their first phase of adulthood unbeknownst to you, you will become a cabinet member. Our children begin to seek counsel from many people and it really hits us hard as they step into adulthood. I remember speaking with my mom about things as well as my aunts, cousins and trusted friends. It's not that they don’t value what we say, they are scoping out other opinions to help them make decisions. Remember it takes a village so don't internalize it!
Plan Ahead - Your child is leaving for college soon and up until this point, you may have been depending on them for some tasks. Washing dishes, Target Runs, grabbing you something from another room, you catch my drift. Those things are small and trivial until it's time for you to do it yourself… again! Basically what I am saying is, your schedule is about to change up a little bit so make sure you keep your time open to recalibrate your plans. Your children leaving is not the only thing that you will have to get use to. Those dishes will be waiting on you girl!
Stay In Their Ear - Sometimes, as our kids get older, we may become a little laxed. I have learned that laxed, leaves room for more of the bad decisions to take place. Stay in your child's ear. Let them know at home and in the dorm, you are still going to insert your wisdom and experience into all facets of their lives, respectfully.
Loosen The Leash - This is difficult. REALLY DIFFICULT! However, we all know we must gradually loosen the leash so that our children can grow. We want them to be self sufficient enough that in our absence, they have an understanding of how to take care of business, curate a moral compass and phone us in situations they know our counsel and guidance is needed. However, we have to allow them the wiggle room to understand what those situations are like.
In some cases we actually hinder our teens and young adults. We don’t want to hear it but we know somewhere, deep in our hearts it's true. However, we are not in any position to face the music of our children, adulting and making life changing decisions for themselves, the thought is cringe worthy enough to bring me to tears to be honest. But we have to remember this is part of the parenting process. These are actually the moments we have built them up for! All of those hear to heart talks, punishments (Getting grounded), screaming fests and in some cases tears, all of that is what we were building up to.
Congratulations to all of the parents who have kiddos entering college and those who are nearing the end of their high school academic careers. The time goes by so rapidly. Let’s serve as support beams to one another as we enter this next phase in the parenting process. Keep going mamas! You are doing a swell job girl and I know your children adore you and your hard work... you too daddys!