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Feeling Like an Empty Nester?


Congratulations to those of you whose teenagers entered college! Taking your teenagers to college is a huge milestone for both teen and parent(s). No matter how big your teenager is, including six feet tall, he/she is still your child….your baby. It was your parental goal from the beginning to have your child become responsible and independent AND so you said:

  1. “Clean up your room.”
  2. “Empty the garbage.”
  3. “Pick your clothes up off the floor.”
  4. “Be home at a specific time.”

Move-in day at the dorms provided you the opportunity to go up and down the stairs many times with Target or Walmart sacks filled with college/dorm supplies. You met your teen’s roommate(s) and parent(s). Last but not least you nourished your teen’s body with a good restaurant meal. Goodbyes were said and hugs were given. You watched as your child walked off into the huge college building.

Some parents are fine with all of this; others shed many tears as the car and you go homeward bound minus one. You may wish you could go back and get your teenager. You may be thinking how it feels like only yesterday when your child was born. You may ask yourself, “What if my baby needs me?” Ahhh, cell phones!!!

It’s normal to feel happy or sad, or any combination of feelings when your child goes off to college. Some parents grieve the loss of their little child as they experience their grown-up child. You may not feel as needed. Your house is quiet now. You may really miss your teenager. As a parent(s) you have done a great job encouraging your child to go to college. You have laid out your child’s foundation. As a parent(s), you hope your teenager makes good choices, and the mistakes are not too bad.

Next time you see your college son or daughter, he/she will seem more grown-up and independent. You may really like this new grown-up version, even if he/she brings home all his/her dirty laundry. All the years before this you were giving your child wings to fly. College is when parents watch their child take off and hope they soar.


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