Some of the dynamics of parenting past the high school years may be trepidation on our part as well! No matter how well we think we may have prepared our sons and daughters for launch, we may not be completely prepared to see them off on their own. Are they going to go to college or out into the workplace? How far away will they go? How much will we miss them? How good will they be at staying in touch? Will our young person fit into the college scene? Will they thrive or come home after the first semester? And if they do, what will we do?! What will they study and how can we support them in their gifted-ness to prepare them for their future?
All of our questions and concerns might not be getting voiced, but our young adults might be sensing our anxiety too. It is a curious but normal mix of stress on everyone’s part. The dynamics in our home will definitely be shifting and changing. Is your senior your only child or are there others coming up the ranks? So much comes into play as we watch our children grow, mature and get ready to fly from our nest!
The fact that we ourselves are feeling stressed about “letting go” doesn’t make this time in our young adults’ lives any easier either. We are often blind to the fact that as the parents, we are anxious about the uncertainties of our "child" leaving home and quite frankly, may be holding on a little too tightly in their opinion. It is a bittersweet, anxious time! How will we manage financially with a new monetary burden on our budget if they are going to college? That question may be plaguing our thoughts as we write our first check and choke!
We have to deal with so many of our own conflicting feelings: the sense of release as one launches from the nest, the pins and needles of letting go (especially of our first) and trusting that God will take care of them in our absence. The guilt of feeling relieved perhaps, when it is our last one (the "baby") and we are facing a very different future for ourselves as "empty nesters"! It is a tumultuous time and lack of communication that is so typical at this age just adds to the tension as we envision the obstacles they will face and the challenges ahead for them. With all these different influences, our responses may turn into emotional reactions to things that normally wouldn’t affect us in the same way. We need to be sure to keep all the lines of communication open, for everyone’s sake and keep the unconditional love flowing, especially when it is hardest to express! First and foremost, we can relieve some of the tension we are feeling at this time by praying for our teens and seeking God's help in making this transition as smooth as possible for everyone concerned.
Last but not least, we must discipline ourselves to look further down the road to who our kids will be when they are twenty-five or thirty and know that if a strong, solid, healthy foundation was laid before their senior year, they will be fine. We can put our hearts at ease and hang tough about the temporary issues and challenges that we’re facing with our eighteen year old with the goal of future vision in mind as they head off into the world.
Please feel free to comment, "like" and share~ especially if you could relate to this post. I welcome any feedback and would love to hear about your experiences, launching your young adult out into the world...let us know how you coped, and what adjustments you had to make to help them find success on their own!