How to cope with letting go of your adult children

July 24, 2017 Providence Health Team

As an attached parent, it’s always difficult to watch your kids grow up and eventually leave home. Whether they are going off to college or heading out of town to start a new career, it’s perfectly normal to feel sadness and loss. While some parents use the time away from their kids to take the vacation they’ve always wanted or spend time with each other as a couple again, others have a more difficult time dealing with the transition. However you choose to cope with your child leaving home, remember that what you’re feeling is completely justified and the good news is there are several ways to make this shift in your life a little less shocking.

Support their independence

Although it’s sad to see them go, your child is entering the next stage in their life and becoming a better person for it. Remember that they are experiencing this separation for the first time as well, so there might be a period where they will also be unsure of how to approach this new chapter. Make sure your child knows that you support them and are excited to watch them develop over the next few years.

Set up a communication schedule

Just because you are saying goodbye doesn’t mean you can’t call. You’re still their parent and a huge part of their lives. Believe it or not, they will still need your advice from time to time. Setting up a call schedule can help ease the loneliness you might be experiencing and give you something to look forward to, although you’ll want to ensure you don’t overdo it—it’s very important to give your child the space they need to process the separation.

Arrange visits

Even though you don’t see them much at home anymore, you can always bring home to them. Bringing along a care package will help your child manage any homesick emotions, and it’s always nice to give them treasures that will remind them of home. If you’re worried about them taking care of themselves, then a visit to their dorm or apartment should help ease those doubts. Experiencing your child’s new life through their eyes will give you confidence and peace of mind knowing that they’re okay, and you should be too.

Embrace this exciting new phase of your life

Once you get over the initial shock, remember that you still have your entire life ahead of you! Take full advantage of the spare time you have and do something you’ve always wanted to do. Take classes, go on a wellness retreat, travel—the possibilities are endless! Staying busy will help keep your mind off your kids, and you can slowly start easing your way into your newfound independence.

We know it’s hard to say goodbye, but these steps should make things a little easier for you as you are navigating your new life. Remember to think positively, and encourage yourself with the knowledge that you are not the only one who has experienced this challenging transition. Has your child “flown the coop” yet? Let us know how you handled it. Share in the comments below.

About the Author

The Providence Health Team brings together caregivers from diverse backgrounds to bring you clinically-sound, data-driven advice to help you live your happiest and healthiest selves.

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