Letting Go of Your College Kid
Sounds like a no brainer – right? Our kids graduate from high school and many of them go on to college. Often it is far enough away from us that we stop being involved in their day-to-day lives.
Or do we?
In this age of instant communication many of our kids are “closer” than ever. They text us frequently. We see new pictures of them on Instagram and Facebook daily. Some of them even call, FaceTime, or Skype us regularly. My question is: Is this a good thing?
My daughter will text me often with minor issues:
“I feel sick, I can’t finish this paper, I missed dinner, I can’t find my meal card,” etc.
As a reformed “fixer,” I am still always tempted to give solutions.
“Go see the health center, take a break and then work on your paper, order a pizza,” etc. But that is definitely NOT what my daughter needs from me.
We all want our kids to be confident, to be self-starters. We want them to step up in their lives and take charge. Unfortunately, every time we intervene when we shouldn’t, we show them that they aren’t ready to take on their own lives.
I do know that in the dark ages (when I was in college), I could only call my parents once a week. I certainly had a lot to figure out on my own. I did make a lot of mistakes. Now I see that is how I learned to start making smarter decisions. That is when I started to see myself as a confident adult, instead of a child still dependent upon her parents.
I am certainly not advocating cutting communication off with our college students. But when my daughter texts me with the latest “issue,” it always helps me to ask myself:
- Is this my issue?
- Will my assistance/answers empower her?
- Is this something she cannot do/figure out for herself?
Almost always the answer is NO. So then, I need to say to her:
“What are you going to do about that?” Or “I’m sure you will figure this out!” Or, even just “Hmm.”
Our young adults need to know they are capable of running their lives – they don’t need mom or dad to do so. We’ve taught them well. Now let’s step back and let them live their lives, make their own decisions, solve their own problems.
After all, we have our own lives to live!