7 ways to cope with sending your child to college
By Sherise Henry
The upcoming school year for some will be a time filled with fear, anxiety, high hopes and enough prayer to cover and bear through all those emotions. No we're not talking about students, but rather parents who have to send their child away to college for the first time.
It’s a season where some parents may second guess themselves on whether they have told their teen enough, others may wonder whether their teen is mature enough to handle the demands of a self disciplined study life among social distractions. Fear not. Lori Freeland a contributing writer to Crosswalk.com shared her coping skills in sending her child off to school. We are sharing her list with you with a few added advice of our own.
Crosswalk.com suggests literally taking time to breathe in and out finding a quiet moment to concentrate. That alone may aid us in applying the verse found in 2 Corinthians 10:5, "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"
Crosswalk reminds us that college doesn’t mark the end of your relationship, it signals the beginning of something new and exciting for both of you. Give yourself permission to accept and believe it. In the meantime, just breathe.
2) Accept what you can’t control
When sending your child into an atmosphere you are unfamiliar with it may spark your imagination towards the What ifs? Crosswalk encourages us with the following…”You’ve had 18 years to model positive behaviors and good choices for your kids. You’ve also had 18 years to teach them about redemption when your behavior hasn’t been so stellar, and you’ve had to apologize for your mistakes. Once your child leaves your house, there will be tons of situations you can’t control. And that’s okay. Accept what you can’t control and move on.”
When you find yourself weighed down with thoughts of what might be taking place with your teen you may find comfort in the verse Matthew 11:28, "Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." Also remember Proverbs 12:25, "Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad."
3) Concentrate on what you did right
Crosswalk advises that over the years, you’ve done more right than wrong. Make a list of your strengths as a parent and trust that your words and actions have made a positive impact—even if you don’t see the results quite yet. Instead of wrestling with what you did wrong, concentrate on what you did right. The following verse may encourage you in the fact that God honors every good seed you have sown in your child’s life. Galatians 6:7 says, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; whatever a man soweth, that he shall also reap."
4) Open lines of communication
If you’ve never felt comfortable being open and honest with your child, now’s the time to start. It isn’t too late to begin a dialogue, even if your only in-depth discussions thus far have been about your fantasy football draft. Make yourself available. Don’t waste your chance to deepen your relationship. From here on out, your relationship will supersede any rules you’ve laid down.
May the following verse add encouragement with the process of being open and sincere.
1 Timothy 1:5, "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart with a good conscience and a sincere faith," and Romans 12:9, "Let love be without hypocrisy abhor what is evil cling to what is good. These verses mainly relate to our love relationship with God himself but we also know that we are instructed to love God, ourselves and others like ourselves, including our children."
5) Have a plan
Crosswalk advises…There are a lot of places—metaphorically speaking—to get lost in college. A lot of new experiences and opportunities and choices. Some good. Some bad. Brainstorm possible scenarios, and ask how your child how he’ll handle this pressure or that temptation and put a plan in place before the theoretical becomes reality.
6) Be a safe place
We all need shelter from the storms of life. Somewhere to vent. Somewhere to turn in a moment of confusion or panic or crisis. Somewhere to feel loved and safe. Especially when we’re out on our own for the first time. And the cool thing is, regardless of the miles between you and your child, you’re a phone call away.
Depending on the choices your child makes, he may have to live with his actions. But he doesn’t have to live with them alone. You can’t take consequences away, and you shouldn’t, but you can walk alongside him. When your kids mess up—and they will—be their safe place.
7) Make a prayer list
Because it’s sometimes hard to breathe, accept what you can’t control, concentrate on what you did right, open the door for communication, make a plan, and be your kid’s safe place, take it to God. When you feel lost or worried or afraid or out of control, God doesn’t.
There will never be at time when you’re completely helpless as a parent. Because you can always pray. In the end, it’s God who watches over our kids. God who changes their hearts. God who leads them forward into a lasting relationship with Him. And knowing that how my kids’ lives turn out it isn’t all up to me is the most solid comfort I can find. So when you feel like you can’t do anything, make a prayer list. And then pray.
We hope Crosswalk’s Lori Freeland’s advice along with the scriptures we’ve suggested aid you in your transition to send your child on a journey to reach his or her independence. God bless.