Five Things to Help Parents Prepare for the College Transition

“Did you get a chance to read the email for school today?” I asked my husband during our nightly walk.

“Which school?” Craig replied.

And the tears began to well up in my eyes.

The Little Things that Make Me Cry

Yesterday, we received emails from both the high school and the university where our boys are enrolled this fall.

Why in the world would the simple question of “which school” would make me cry?

Because for the first time in 12 years, our boys are in separate schools.

We are blessed with the ability to send our children to a Christian school. We transferred into PCS when our boys were in first grade, and prekindergarten;  and where they will remain – or in Grant’s case remained– until their high school graduation.

As each school prepares for the return of students, the emails have been frequent, to which I am grateful. In these ever-changing times, each school is doing its best to provide the most effective and safe way for students to return to their campuses.

Two Weeks

We are down to just two weeks.

Filled with college dorm room accessories, Grant’s bedroom looks like an exploded Bed, Bath, and Beyond store. Sheets, pillows, new clothes, bathroom, and medical necessities are piled here, there and everywhere.

While we still have a few more things to get, Grant’s ready. I’m ready. I think!

It’s time for him to step out of the nest and fly. He’s ready. I’m ready. I hope!

Right now, I am ok with Grant leaving. This can, and often does, change daily.

Five Things to Help Parents Prepare for the College Transition

If you do a quick Google search, you will discover that there a lot of suggestions on how to deal with sending your child off to college. Most of them are in the physical sense, but what about the emotional and spiritual sense?

In her book, “Fledge: Launching Your Kids without Losing Your Mind,” by Brenda Yoder, equates sending our child out in the world as a fledge – a fledge is to provide (an arrow) with feathers (dicitionary.com). Throughout history, who used arrows the most? Warriors.

“Fledging kids is not for wimps. It’s for warriors. Parents battle both on earth and in the heavenly realms for the hearts and souls of their children.” page 41.

I love this quote. Parents, we are not wimps, we are warriors!

Parenting is not easy. It’s hard. Sending our firstborn child off to college is hard.

Throughout this summer, I have focused on these five things to prepare me for when Grant leaves for Baylor.

  1. Pray! Pray! Pray! This is a given, but I committed to pray daily for this transition that our family will be going through. I’ve prayed for the university and the administrators. I’ve prayed for Grant’s roommate and future friends (and girlfriends!). I’ve prayed for protection over his health. You name it, and I’ve prayed over it.
  2. Don’t project your angst or fears. Your child is 18, and now an adult. They are making their own decisions in regards to their life. It may be hard to see them taking a path in their lives that you don’t like or disagree with, but it’s not our choice, it’s theirs.
  3. Go shopping on their terms and times. As a woman, I love to shop! Grant, on the other hand, doesn’t. Earlier in the summer, I was pushing to start shopping for his dorm room. Grant wasn’t ready. When he finally was ready, we had a great time together. Had I kept pushing, it would have been a miserable experience for us both.
  4. Don’t Be a Helicopter Parent. In the past, it’s been easy to speak on behalf of our child. College is not the place for that. In fact, colleges will not even communicate with the parents if it specifically involves your child. When Grant met in a Zoom meeting with his academic advisor, he had to sign a form that stated we were allowed to listen in and ask questions if needed. This was a big step in letting go of the parent control we are accustomed to.
  5. Simply Enjoy One Another! As we get closer to the move-in, emotions and tensions can tend to run high. For parents, change in the family dynamics can cause grief over what once was.  For our students, being away from a house and life they are accustomed to for so many years can be a form of stress through the fear of the unknown.  Be sure to enjoy the little moments that you have together. Little moments are the moments that you tend to remember for years to come.

Join Me On Facebook and Instagram for 31 Days of Back to School Prayers

On August 1st, I launched “31 Days of Back to School Prayers” on Facebook and Instagram. Click here or here to join me in praying over our students, parents, teachers, staff, and administrators.

Helpful Resources

If you are getting ready to launch your child out of the nest, I highly recommend these two books.

Fledge, Launching Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind,” by Brenda Yoder and “Empty Nest, Full Life,” by Jill Savage. Both are excellent resources in preparing you for what is to come during these days and years to come.

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