Having a child leave home to go to university can be regarded as a measure of parenting success – a sign that you have prepared them for the world - go you! But the rollercoaster ride you experience when your child leaves home can be emotional. This is all quite natural, the result of 18+ years of parental responsibility coming to an end as well as your child realising that they don’t need you anymore (or at least they don’t think they do)!
We've taken a light-hearted look at how to cope with your adult-child flying the nest!
1. "I'm so proud, my child's actually really clever! Must have got it from me!"
You are bursting with pride, your child has got into university and all of those hours helping them with homework has paid off. You’re jumping for joy that their exams went well and you cannot hide your sheer pride that you have created and brought up such a clever and hardworking young person! Go you!
2. "HOORAH… I am going to have SO much spare time!"
We know what you’re thinking. “My partner and I can actually spend real ADULT time together. No longer being used as a free taxi driver, cleaner, launderette and the bank of Mom and Dad! Did someone say cocktails and date nights?”
3. "Wait... they're still a baby"
"How can they possibly look after themselves? Do they even know what a dishwasher looks like? Last time he/she tried to use the microwave she nearly burnt the house down. How will they cope without the bank of mom and dad, oh and also my free taxi rides!"
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At this point the car is already packed to the brim with piles of cardboard boxes and suitcases but a sudden panic strikes. "We need to buy tea towels, toilet paper, does she need four duvet covers? Pots! Pans! WASHING UP liquid. Eight plates will be enough surely? Will she live off pizza and fries? Do I need to send her vegetable left-overs each week? Does she even know what a vegetable is?"
5. "I'm so excited for their future"
After the initial panic and overdrive, you finally come to terms with the fact that your child is a young adult and you feel excited for them starting the new chapter in their life. You help them plan and pack and give them as much support as possible. Waving goodbye to your child is always going to be hard, but watching them grow into an independent young person is one of the best feelings. Knowing you’ve done a good job and encouraged them to follow their dreams to go to university feels great. Whilst waving them off in their new home in whichever university they chose, you feel an overwhelming sense of pride and joy.