September Transitions

campusIt’s September and another school year – for me personally, it means an exciting combination of fresh beginnings. A grandson just started high school, two nephews are now freshmen in college, a great-nephew has begun kindergarten, and I am teaching a new set of first year medical students. Are you too finding yourself in the middle of stimulating transformations?

Some parents are dropping off their kids on campus and others are accepting them back home four years later as boomerangs, given the still sagging economy. If you’ve got a revolving door at your house, here are some thoughts about how to adjust to all the changes.

If you’ve taken your teen to college for the first time, you can balance the tendencies to hold on and let go. It will make the transition easier for both you and your child:

  • It’s natural to feel a letdown when you return home alone. You’ve lost a major player in your life and there certainly will be a gap. You can share your feelings with friends but recognize that this is the time to encourage your college student to become more independent.
  • Find ways to maintain a family connection throughout the college years. You can let your emerging adult know that you are there to help when needed without acting like a helicopter parent. Instead, focus on respecting each other as adults in your new relationship.

On the other hand, if you find your kidult settling back in at home after years on his or her own, you may want to set some guidelines for everyone in the family:

  • With student loans a significant factor, many college graduates return to the nest to save money for future needs. Most parents accept this arrangement as long as realistic expectations are discussed, boundaries are set and a timeline is in the works for moving out.
  • Millennial underemployment and jobless figures are still high – one of the factors in the delayed marriage and home-ownership rates among this group. While your young adults may be postponing these markers of maturity, foster their continuing growth by challenging them to create and live up to their own standards for adulthood.

As fall begins to roll in with its dramatic changes in the color and temperature outside, if the inside of your home mirrors these seismic shifts, use these tips to support you through the process.

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