My College:
Dear Adina

Sad About My New Grad Moving Away

Adina Glickman


Dear Adina,

My son is a senior in college and his current job search is really on my mind. I’d love to know how to remain excited about and supportive of his future opportunities, when it’s highly likely he will be moving very far away. I want to be so happy for him. But honestly there is part of me that feels a little sad.


Dear Parent,

You don’t need advice. You need a big hug and a soft shoulder to lean on while you feel those sad feelings!

Because of course you’re sad. When our babies go far away, we mourn the loss. We mourn the sweet smell of their baby necks. We mourn the twinkle in their eye when we’ve said yes to seconds on dessert. We mourn their angst and their anger and their gratitude, and everything in between.

Though you will always and forever be aware of the difference between having him close (and younger) and having him far away (and older), your acute mourning won’t last forever. It will gradually be replaced by the new relationship you’ll have together, mano a mama. That wonderful relationship will be filled with his adult experiences and will bring you a new kind of joy that is as unique as the joy you felt when he took his first steps and fell into your lap laughing.

But until that transition takes root and that new relationship has a chance to evolve, give yourself the space and time to do your grieving so that it doesn’t become his problem, or worse yet, That Which Defines Your Relationship. As your instincts are telling you, being excited and supportive are the right things to be feeling and sharing with him. The rest — the sorrow and uncertainty — is for you to bring to the other adults in your life, maybe a support group (you’re not alone), or a coach or counselor at some point.

The job description for parenting changes all the time. And the job description for parenting an adult is just as confusing as the ones you’ve barely mastered all down the line since they were little. Just when you figure out what your infant/baby/child/tween/teen needs from you as a parent, they go and start needing something different! And just as you figured out how to parent a college student, your new job is to parent a young adult who makes decisions without even taking your feelings into account… just like you, at some point, decided to stop basing your decisions on what made your own parent(s) sad or happy.

The small print in this current job description reads something like this: Show your children that you’re a whole person who can make your own happiness, grieve your own losses, and take care of yourself. Then they’ll know that that’s what it means to be an adult.

Yours,

Adina Signature

Have a question? Ask Adina

Adina Glickman is the founder of Affinity Coaching Group, which offers academic, life, parenting and career coaching. She is the former director of learning strategies at Stanford University and is the co-founder and director of the Academic Resilience Consortium, an association of faculty, staff and students dedicated to understanding and promoting student resilience. Learn more at affinitycoachinggroup.com.
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    2 days ago
    CollegiateParent

    Summer is the perfect time for college kids to catch up on medical and dental appointments.

    And it’s also an opportunity to launch a discussion about their sexual health.

    Is this a topic that your student is open about with you?

    Some of our kids tell us everything, some of them edit out things that make them – or us - uncomfortable, and some of them rarely talk about anything more personal than what they’re laughing at on Tik Tok.

    Here’s a tip if you have a kid who never talks about anything related to relationships or sex. Use any number of current events to broach the subject. Rising monkeypox cases, reproductive rights, and Pride month have all been in the news and are “tip of the iceberg” topics that can get your college student to open up and start talking.

    Whether you know they are or are not sexually active, it’s always a good idea to let our college kids know that we are continuously there to answer any questions, provide resources, and support them in making healthy decisions about things like intimate relationships, consent, contraception, and STD testing.

    Coming at these issues with a judgment free attitude is key, because let’s face it – when our kids are away at school, we have no way of knowing what they are doing, and they are legal adults who don’t need our permission to engage in any type of relationship. If we want to be able to have honest discussions about all aspects of health with them, we need them to know we love and care for them above all else, even if what they are doing has not been our lived experience or we don’t endorse some of their decisions.

    If you or your college student are looking for information on any health-related topic, a great place to start is the Resource page at the American College Health Association site, www.acha.org

    For a Situation Summary of the current monkeypox outbreak, you can consult the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

    And consider passing along this excellent resource from www.healthline.com on “Where to Get Free or
    Lower-Cost STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) Testing in Each State.”

    - Marybeth Loyd Bock, MPH
    ... See MoreSee Less

    Summer is the perfect time for college kids to catch up on medical and dental appointments.  And it’s also an opportunity to launch a discussion about their sexual health.  Is this a topic that your student is open about with you?  Some of our kids tell us everything, some of them edit out things that make them – or us - uncomfortable, and some of them rarely talk about anything more personal than what they’re laughing at on Tik Tok.  Here’s a tip if you have a kid who never talks about anything related to relationships or sex. Use any number of current events to broach the subject. Rising monkeypox cases, reproductive rights, and Pride month have all been in the news and are “tip of the iceberg” topics that can get your college student to open up and start talking.  Whether you know they are or are not sexually active, it’s always a good idea to let our college kids know that we are continuously there to answer any questions, provide resources, and support them in making healthy decisions about things like intimate relationships, consent, contraception, and STD testing.  Coming at these issues with a judgment free attitude is key, because let’s face it – when our kids are away at school, we have no way of knowing what they are doing, and they are legal adults who don’t need our permission to engage in any type of relationship. If we want to be able to have honest discussions about all aspects of health with them, we need them to know we love and care for them above all else, even if what they are doing has not been our lived experience or we don’t endorse some of their decisions.  If you or your college student are looking for information on any health-related topic, a great place to start is the Resource page at the American College Health Association site, www.acha.org  For a Situation Summary of the current monkeypox outbreak, you can consult the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)  And consider passing along this excellent resource from www.healthline.com on “Where to Get Free or
Lower-Cost STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) Testing in Each State.”  - Marybeth Loyd Bock, MPH
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