Your Voice: Graduation — a bittersweet experience (for parents)
Feel the feels, create lasting memories, be patient, and more.
Graduation is a time of celebration for students and their families alike. It’s an opportunity to mark the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.
But for parents, graduation can sometimes be a bittersweet experience. On the one hand, we are proud of our child's accomplishments and excited for their future. On the other hand, we are sad to see our child leave home.
My third child is now college-bound. With this in mind, I’m sharing some tips for coping with the mixed emotions:
Allow yourself to feel
It is OK to feel sad, happy, proud, and anxious all at the same time. Don’t try to bottle up your emotions or pretend you are not feeling them. Talk to your child about how you feel. Let them know that you are proud of them, but that you are also going to miss them.
Create lasting memories
Take some time to do things together that you both enjoy. This could be anything from going on a hike to baking cookies.
Call, text, or video chat regularly. Let them know that you are always there for them. It’s important to remember that graduation is a new beginning for you both — a time to grow and learn.
Create a budget
College can be expensive, so it’s important for you and your child to create a budget. Your child may need help with this, so work together to budget and track their spending.
Your child is leaving home, and therefore, home-cooked meals. It’s a good idea to teach them some basic culinary skills.
Encourage extracurricular activities
Encourage your child to get involved in extracurricular activities. Joining clubs, sports teams, or other activities is a great way for them to meet new people and make friends.
Help your child stay organized
College can be overwhelming, so your child needs to stay organized. Help them set up a system for keeping track of assignments, deadlines, and other important information.
College is a big adjustment for everyone. Be patient with your child as they navigate this new stage of life.
It's hard to let go of your child, but it's the most important part of the parenting process. Help your child to become independent and make their own decisions. This doesn’t mean you have to stop loving them or being there for them. But it does mean giving them the space they need to grow and mature.
I wish you and your child all the best in this new chapter — it is hopefully the start of great things.
Your Voice reflects the thoughts and opinions of the writer, and not necessarily those of the publication.