Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Parent to Parent: Going Away To School Blues
Fall semester is just around the corner for colleges, and many 18-year-old freshmen will be leaving home to live on campus. It is an exciting time, but it can be very emotional too. In tonight's Parent to Parent, Lynn Martinez takes a look at the going away to school blues and what parents and kids can do to make the transition a little easier.
WSVN -- Katherine Ettman is getting ready for life at college.
Elizabeth Ettman: "You're going to need that, it's going to be cold up there. Keep me warm."
She's getting ready to go to Princeton University in New Jersey.
Catherine Ettman: "I'm very nervous because I don't have any friends at Princeton. I don't know anybody there, so I'll be starting out completely on my own with new roommates, new friends, the whole nine yards."
For parents, it's just one more reason to worry.
Elizabeth Ettman: "It's hard, it's you have to be strong for your child."
The Schlichte family is also dealing with the off to school blues.
Paul Schlichte: "It's extremely difficult. It's like cutting the umbilical cord all over again."
Garrett is a freshman at Florida State. He just finished summer school and starts fall semester in two weeks.
Toni Schlichte: "I just remember the day I had to leave, I just hugged him, and I just couldn't let go."
Garret says it's been hard for him too.
Garrett Schlichte: "It was hard not having that same support there. Everyday, my little sister called me like one night, three weeks in, and she was crying on the phone, like, 'Come home, I miss you,' so that was really difficult."
Leaving home can be hard for the entire family, but Dr. Val says to focus on the positive.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "The parents job is this, is to empower that child and say, 'Honey, I love you, and I know that you're mature enough to do this. I wouldn't have let you go unless I thought you were mature enough to handle this.'"
And be ready to offer some long distance support.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "Listen because that's really all they need is just somebody to listen to them, go through this, rather than holding it in themselves."
As for the students, Dr. Val says when you get hit with the homesick blues, the best medicine is to keep busy. Get involved in campus activities and try to make new friends, and remember to give yourself time to adjust. It doesn't happen overnight.
Dr. Val says parents should take the same advice. Don't worry, obsess over your empty nest, use your new free time to try new things, renew old friendships, enjoy time for yourself.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "It's not joyful inside, sometimes it's a feeling of loss. At the same time, it's a feeling of excitement for your child that you're moving forward. What could be better?"
And, above all, remember the college separation is for relatively short periods of time.
Elizabeth Ettman: "You know what? You'll see each other at holidays and different events and what not, and it's just a nice way for children to separate from parents."
And it's all part of growing up.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Valerie Goode