Although students are the center focus when it comes to their transition from high school to college, it is important to look at the impact that this transition may have on parents.
Whether parents have gone through this before but are now becoming full empty nesters or are just beginning the process of seeing their children go to college, this transition can sometimes be very difficult.
As Bobcat Student Orientation starts, parents may start to feel the beginning of this transition and may be looking for advice as to how to deal with this very busy time of life.
Parents discussed their best advice after having kids move on to college and what they recommend other parents do during this eventful time.
Tamie Cruz, the mother of junior Alyssa Cruz, said the most important advice she would give to couples seeing their children move away would be to start dating again before the children leave the house. She said this could include things like going to get dinner once a week or going on a walk but that finding one’s spouse again was very important.
She said after both of her daughters left she started to feel sad but reminded herself that she could be happy being an empty nester.
“I was feeling sad and I thought ‘OK, so what's the opposite of an empty nester?’” she said. “The opposite of an empty nester is having another child right now and at my age, that’s not really a good option for me so I need to be happy with being an empty nester.”
She said another important piece of advice would be to let children do as many things independently over the summer before college as possible in order to prepare them for being alone. Cruz said whether this meant letting them schedule their doctor appointments by themselves or even having them go alone, this was a necessary part of growing up.
“I would caution parents as far as hovering a little too much when their child goes away to college,” she said. “It really is a time when they need to try to fly.”
MJ Erickson-Hogue, the mother of freshman Tavi Hogue, said she had to learn to detach from her children with love.
She said that although she was sad to see her children leave she became happy for them to start their own journey.
“I’ve heard a lot of parents say ‘It was so sad,’” she said. “I mean, I came to a point where I was more excited for them.”
Erickson-Hogue said having three children with different personalities made her worry about different things as each one started to leave the nest. Overall, she had confidence in their abilities to succeed.
She said there were several moments throughout the transitions where she took time to reflect on how much she loved her children.
“I’m just grateful that they’ve turned out to have their own unique interests and have turned out to be kind and caring and each in their own way,” she said.
Martin Hogue, Tavi’s father, said there’s a big difference between the transition for parents and children now compared to when he left for college because of the advancement in technology.
Hogue said being able to reach out to his children whenever needed through text messages was very useful and easy.
He said he would suggest to parents realize all the work they have done for their children and let them go out on their own while still being there for them.
“I guess my advice would be that you’ve prepared them, you’ve taught them how to fly, so to speak, for their whole lives, and you just have to let them fly,” he said. “Just trust them to make good decisions but always say ‘Hey, I’ll be here if you ever need me. I’m a text away.’”