A Parent's Guide

To help you deal with the practical packing as well as the drama-filled goodbyes, we've put together a guide to get you and your college-bound kid through this exciting and trying period.

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Getting through empty nest syndrome

As the mother of a college junior, attorney Laurie Giles tackles this very issue among others in her forthcoming book, What now? A Step-by-Step Guide to Navigating Through Your Child's Teens, which she is co-authoring with my daughter. She offers these tips to help parents get through the empty nest syndrome hump:

 

Find a new hobby or activity.

 

Let the kids go in small doses. Pre-college programs are great for parents. While your child is away during the summer between junior and senior year of high school, you will have some time to get used to the idea of her being away.

 

Get over the fear that she can't handle things on her own. "During my daughter's last year of high school, she and I developed a budget for her to live on for her lessons, clothes and school lunches," says Giles. "At the begging of each month I gave her that amount of money less any income she was making from part time jobs. The first month, her hair and nails looked great with her expensive new outfits, but I don't think she liked taking PB&J sandwiches to high school nor missing out on activities. After that she did great. And now as a college junior she is usually right on target."

 

Get support. Develop an informal support group of other parents who are dealing with the same issues. Talk to someone who has been there.

 

Develop a new routine. If Friday night was family pizza and movie night, find something else to do on Friday nights. Get together with the girls or have a date night with your significant other.

 

Up next: The bottom line


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