As moms we worry. Ideas come up in our heads all the time, what if… and that little voice that we hear instills all sorts of worst case scenarios. As our daughters go from young tweens into teens the “what if” voice gets louder and the ideas that used to be so simple like “what if she doesn’t eat her vegetables” turn into “what if she gets into an accident while driving”.
In a more social context there is the worry about school, friends, social acceptance and cyber bullying. Talking with moms of teenage girls, it is hard to know what to do and what not to do at any given moment. When girls move through high school the level of concern shifts to thinking about the next phase, college. We find ourselves facing the ultimate test – being able to let our daughters go out into the world on their own and yes that brings a whole new level of worry!
Summer before senior year is a great opportunity to test the waters of independence and see where it can lead. Recently, I dropped my daughter off at a university program in New York City. The students stayed in dorms and the experience felt like what I imagine it will be like to drop her off in a little more than a year’s time as a freshmen. Parents were bustling about, students were getting settled, and meeting their roommates and it all seemed so natural. Sensing my angst, my daughter smiled and said “you aren’t going to cry are you”?
Hearing those words and sensing the goodbye coming, I toughened up and showed resolve. Not seeing anyone else getting emotional (or were they?) stoicism took over and no tears were shed in that moment. On the way to the airport it was a surreal feeling like loss but also freedom of letting her spread her wings. Leaving my daughter in New York was a journey for both of us and as time progressed over the weeks that followed I began to adjust to this new phase in our lives.
Tips to Help Parents and Teens Let Go
Plan Ahead: One of the things that can cause worry is not knowing what to expect. If your teen is going away, talk with her about it and even tell her what it was like for you the first time you were away.
Communicate: It can be hard to reach your teen on the phone depending on her schedule and time zones. It may not be possible for voice conversations and sending a quick text (if she is traveling overseas What’s App is a free way to stay in touch) is a great way to feel connected.
Know You Are Not Alone: All parents face their teen transitioning to becoming an independent young adult and talking it through with friends helps ease the experience.
Do you have a teen going off to college soon? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page.