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How do you deal with your sons/daughters moving away for college?

John117John117 Posts: 791- Member
edited June 2010 in Parents Forum
I'm not a parent. But I'm very curious how parents feel about this issue.

My parents look really miserable for sending me to North Carolina all the way from California, but they believe its good in the long run. However they constantly worry about how I'll handle food, money, credit/debit cards, etc.

Do you have any personal experiences with your sons/daughters?
Post edited by John117 on
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Replies to: How do you deal with your sons/daughters moving away for college?

  • ellemenopeellemenope Posts: 11,380Registered User Senior Member
    We've sent 2 California kids all the way to the East Coast for college. Sure we worry about them, but it's all part of parents growing up and moving onto the next step of their lives. We accompanied our daughters for their first move in and clapped eyes on their actual living quarters, met roommates, checked out the banking arrangements, cafeterias, etc. That gave us some modicum of comfort.

    As for credit cards, cell phones, etc., we set that up before the kids left California the summer after high school. So that wasn't a concern.

    The only advice I could give you that would help your parents would be for you to keep them in the loop about things going on in school (classes, teachers, fun stuff going on, etc.) for a little while during that first semester. Just to ease the separation.

    If you think your parents really look miserable now, just imagine what their faces would look like if you were 30 years old and still lived at home! Preparing your kids so that they can spread their wings and make a life of their own is in the job description of what it is to be a parent.
  • mjscalmjscal Posts: 116Registered User Junior Member
    We have not found it to be too difficult. Our daughter comes home every few months or so and it is easy to keep in contact by Skype or cell phone. This is very different than when we, the parents were in college and the only means of communication was via the mail as no one could afford to telephone long distance. Airfare is also very inexpensive now with cross country airfare around $300 so return for the holidays is no big issue.
  • MarianMarian Posts: 9,326Registered User Senior Member
    Your parents' nervousness about the unfamiliar situation of having you living on the other side of the country is probably coming out in their concerns about logistics.

    Nevertheless, it doesn't hurt to put some thought and effort into the logistics. For example, you may want to look at your college's web site -- or start a thread on its board on CC -- to find out what banks are on campus or nearby. You may find that there's a branch of a national bank that also has branches in your home town (e.g., Bank of America), which can be very convenient for a college student.
  • msmayormsmayor Posts: 317Registered User Member
    What concerned me the most was the distance and how much time/effort it would take to get to her in an emergency. She attends a school 750 miles away and while there is plenty of air service, there's still the time factor. When a child 'needs' a parent, you want to be there immediately.

    My fear was actually eased a LOT during the Parent orientation weekend when we dropped her off in September. During a parent discussion session that had the Dean of Students asking us about our fears, another mom stood up and began vocalizing my very fear...I listened carefully, hoping to get some assurance.

    When she began talking about how long it would take to get to her son because they lived in INDIA, with limited flights and excruciating time spent in the air, I thought "Geez...750 miles is a piece of cake!".

    As such, when we pointed the car north after saying goodbye, I felt comfortable leaving.
  • dadinatordadinator Posts: 1,260Registered User Senior Member
    There's a book, Letting Go, that you might want to suggest to your parents or get for them:

    Amazon.com: Letting Go (Fifth Edition): A Parents' Guide to Understanding the…

    A lot of people on CC have recommended it in the past.
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Posts: 11,465Registered User Senior Member
    I did not worry very much. Both my husband and I had spent time across country from our parents when we were that age and with cell phones and internet they 'feel' much closer and we speak with them more often than my husband and I did with our parents back in the day with letters and very expensive long distance phone calls. Not to mention today's linked accounts at the banks and instant money transfers. I remember sitting on the steps of an American Express office waiting for money my parents were sending at one point when I was 19. The kids were pretty much handling their part-time work, school schedules, banking stuff, car repairs/gas etc. before they graduated from high school so the "leaving" was more about mental distance than anything. About the only change was them not having me (or their dad or both of us) asking them "what time will you be home" and "where are you going?"
  • SilvermoonlockSilvermoonlock Posts: 469Registered User Junior Member
    I was excited to send my child off to a new phase in life. I had concerns, but I had to trust that we prepared her for being on her on her own. She's headed into her 3rd year and all is well.

    I am currently working with a family, preparing their child - working toward college. She is from a single parent home, with a strong family network. She's starting 9th grade in the fall and we charting a program for her, dong a lot of prep work now.

    I asked her mother and grandmother how they'd feel about the young lady going out of state for college. The panic was real for both of them. They understand it could be a good thing but the idea of separation is distressing. The young lady has never been away from her family alone, so we will also make sure that happens to prepare everyone.

    I hope by the time the young lady is ready to go , the entire family will be prepared.
  • phbmomphbmom Posts: 148Registered User Junior Member
    Our oldest D chose to go to college about 2 hours from home, but that didn't entirely minimize the parental worries. I cried half the way home after we dropped her off. When the first couple of weeks of transition didn't go as smoothly as we would have liked (mostly roomate issues/making friends), it was painful. We parents want everything to be perfect for our kids, but honestly, a lot of the lessons come from the difficult moments. And she weathered those and is having a wonderful college experience.

    This summer she is in NYC for a ten-week internship. Knowing how maturely she has faced her first two years of college, I had no problem letting her take on this challenge on the other side of the country. Her dad went with her to check out her living arrangements and to help her get settled. She texts oftens, calls, and keeps a blog. It's very easy to stay in touch and offer advice when she asks for it.
  • Little MotherLittle Mother Posts: 1,876Registered User Senior Member
    Both of our kids went to SoCal for college, and we all emerged the better for the experience. They had the opportunity to spread their wings in a supportive environment. Although we would occasionally worry such as when either kid got sick, e.g., tonsillectomy, for the most part, they become pretty independent. In all honesty, we were excited that they were heading off on their own - it's to be expected! :) Now they're both out of school and have transitioned well into the working world.
  • whatever4whatever4 Posts: 866Registered User Junior Member
    If your kid is excited about it, how can you not be happy and excited for him/her? It doesn't seem like it was that long ago I was heading off to college (although not a college as far from home as our son attends), and I know it would have been very hard on me if my parents had acted like they were worried and heartbroken about it. So we made sure we mirrored our kid's happiness and excitement at the start of college. We were there to help with move-in, meet roommates, and be able to better visualize some of what we would be hearing about from him.

    To be honest, we have talked to and seen our child about as often as our parents talked to and saw us when we were in college. (We live in the midwest and our son attends college in Boston; in contrast, both spouse and I attended state universities between two and three hours away from our parents' homes.) As many have noted, it is a lot easier to keep in touch with a child now than when I was in college, when it was mainly snail mail and/or short Sunday night phone calls (when the rates were cheaper). And back then, for whatever reason, our parents didn't just buzz down and see us at college, and we did not go home unless it was a holiday, for the most part. Despite the fact that I was attending college only a couple hours from home, I only remember my parents coming down and visiting me there a handful of times during the whole four years I was there. They didn't even help me move in and out every year.

    One thing that has been very nice is that when we communicate now it's about cool stuff he or we have done or are considering, a problem he wants input on, stuff he or we might be interested in that's going on with family, friends, or back home. In contrast, by the end of high school, the majority of our communication seemed to center around logistics (when he would be home, if he was planning to eat dinner with us, etc.) and housekeeping issues.
  • 2boysima2boysima Posts: 1,792Registered User Senior Member
    You parents may have had some similar feelings if you were going 30 miles from home, rather than 3000.

    There are a bunch of threads on the parents cafe about parents feeling sad about their children leaving home. If you read them, you're likely to find a parent's perspective on the issue of kids "moving on" to this next step in life. If you are an only child, an oldest, or a youngest.....there might be additional emotions.

    I have sent a child across the country, and, these days, it's really not a big issue. Bank at college had a branch in our home town, so we were able to transfer money to our child's account, when necessary (a lot of that can be done on line, anyway.) We weren't worried about food --- school provided more than enough, and friends with cars as well as college-sponsored transport to area malls allowed for occasional eating out and dorm room snack stock-up.

    Please be sure to set up a time range and day to call your parents each week - that is convenient to you and your parents . It will mean a lot to them to know they are going to hear from you. If you have something you need to do at that day/time -- be sure to e-mail them or text them BEFORE to let them know when you will be able to call.

    If they call, e-mail or text you - be sure to respond. Even if it's just to say you don't have time to respond and will contact them later. If you don't respond, they will worry.

    We only saw our child at winter break. Having this weekly call gave us a lot of reassurance. We almost never called our child -- since we learned that sleep patterns and "busy times" (especially for someone 3 time zones away) meant that phone calls that we initiatied at the beginning of Freshman year were not well received! When we really needed a response to a question, we left a brief message or sent an e-mail with "please reply" in the subject.

    You are going to a wonderful school in a great college area. Your concern about your parents' feelings is very admirable. They must be very proud of you!
  • ShrinkrapShrinkrap Posts: 11,673Registered User Senior Member
    With a sigh of relief.

    Joking.

    Sort of. Our relationship is better in some ways, when I "see" and say less.

    My D went form Cal to N.C. too, and it helps a lot that My sister lives in the same town, and that my D has spent at least part of the summer away since she was eight years old,

    "If you think your parents really look miserable now, just imagine what their faces would look like if you were 30 years old and still lived at home!"

    and during Christmas and summers home...

    JOKING!.
  • ucsd_ucla_daducsd_ucla_dad Posts: 8,573Registered User Senior Member
    The parents need to step back and consider - their kid was accepted to Duke! If the kid was sharp enough to get into Duke they can likely handle simple matters like how to use a credit card and eat food. btw - I'm sure your parents already know this and have thought about it. If not, after you're there for a quarter or semester and they realize you haven't starved to death or spent yourself into the poor house they'll put any thoughts along those lines they might have to rest.

    Given that, and despite the fact that you'll likely be able to take care of yourself just fine, they'll likely miss you and will need to get used to that and look forward to holidays, etc. when they can see you.

    You can help them with all this by occasionally sending them an email, an IM, a text message, calling them, or something so they can realize you're still doing okay and you can share some of your experiences with them.
  • ctyankeectyankee Posts: 1,410Registered User Senior Member
    We are soooooo ready to start the party. It's not like I'm counting the days or anything but ... 2 months and counting.
  • RobDRobD Posts: 5,061Registered User Senior Member
    Help them start packing :) 47 days to go.

    Seriously, I'm so excited for the possibilities in fromt of my D that it's not a downer for me at all. Even though I'll still have one at home, I'm looking forward to being able to do "my" stuff whenever I want again.

    I am talking D through various practical scenarios (financial, medical, etc.) & mentioning different items to her that might be helpful to have on hand.
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