How Parents Cope With Kids Being Away at College

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Do parents need advice on getting used to their sons and/or daughters being away at college? Some parents need no period of adjusting at all – “I never had any trouble adjusting, less work for me at home, nice and quiet too.” – Susan, son, Eric goes to UConn


©Microsoft Office


I sometimes feel just like Susan. Other times, not so much. Since my son, who is a freshman, has been at Beloit College for about a month now, and I know that he’s more used to it, that in itself makes me feel better. He’s joined clubs, he’s staying on top of his work and he’s even done laundry. I can’t claim to know everything, but the good things are very good.

There are plenty of parents out there who can give the rest of us some reassurances. They can offer us “pearls of wisdom,” because they have been through this already.



“The only advice I have is that you should follow your child’s lead. I let her do the talking and call me when she wants to. Sometimes she doesn’t even say anything, she just wants to touch bases – we say hi, I love you and bye. I never force conversation and usually she will tell me about things that she is proud of or upset about. She doesn’t really want to know what is going on at home. I think it makes her homesick. I don’t talk much, I mostly listen. Otherwise, I think you just get used to them being away and accept it. I know she is excelling and socially happy, so I am happy for her.” Sandra, daughter Ashley goes to University of Pittsburgh

When her oldest of three sons “left for college it was very difficult for me. I cried that day, but it got easier, and of course there was the phone. Back then I did not have SKYPE,” but, she said that her son “always made time to talk with us.”
Barbara, son Adam went to Quinnipiac University

“I think Celia knows the most of it. I really don’t have any advice on this. Celia adjusted real well once she started college. I didn’t help much. I only missed her.” At the time her daughter left for college, her younger son, Calvin had an idea to make it easier not having her home. “We need to have a dog called ‘Celia’.” Yun, daughter Celia goes to Cornell University



One mom said, “What worked for me was about 6 months before Michael left we eased up on his curfew a bit to let him have more responsibility, and accountability before he was really on his own.
I added unlimited texting to our cell phone plan so we could keep in touch even when he didn’t have time to talk. A quick few word updates were received on a daily, sometimes hourly basis LOL.
The weekends that we bring him up in the fall he splits his time between being on campus, and outings with us. We do some shopping together and go to dinner. This actually also makes the transition from home to school easier for him too.
Any time he calls I try to stop what ever I’m doing. I don’t want him to feel that since he isn’t living at home those months that he isn’t connected still. If you let the lines of communication stay open on your end, they will stay open on your children’s end too.”
Robin, son Michael attends New England School of Communications (NEScom)

“To students I say, you may feel invincible but you really are not. Make good choices and think about the long term results that could occur. To other parents, get their bedrooms clean and enjoy it until they come home next time and never unpack. But really, keep the communications between you and your son or daughter open. Let them know you are always there to listen, advise, and support. Friends may come and go, but your family is there for the long haul.” Linda, son Jason goes to UConn

“My son Brian is living at home while attending classes at WestConn. There really hasn’t been a big adjustment for us.” Sue, son Brian is at Western Connecticut State University

“If you asked me this the day I took my kids to college, my thoughts probably would be different. When I took David, I burst into tears and cried the whole way home. When I took Richard, I also cried the whole way home. I still cry. But when I do, I just pick up the phone and call them. My calls seem to always be welcome. It was suggested by friends to have designated times to call but when I ran this “designated time” suggestion to my kids both of them didn’t like it. I am allowed to call whenever I want. I always knew the day would come that they would go off.
Fortunately, both my kids are at a distance, that if they choose to come home, they can come home anytime, as they are no more than an hour and a half away. Keeping them relatively close has been a blessing for so many reasons. When David was sick, he was close enough to the train station to get himself home.


Having them away has actually brought me closer to them. When they were home, they didn’t want to spend time with me, but when they are at school, we IM, we TEXT, and we phone. They’ve actually made me their friend on Facebook with the stipulation that no matter what I see in there, that I can’t say a word. It’s ok…at least I know what they are up to.” Bonnie, older son David attends UConn, younger son Richard attends Southern Connecticut State University

“As a mom who’s been through it, the advice I can give is as follows:

  • Let go.
  • No news is good news.
  • Let go.
  • If the police don’t call, he’s fine.
  • Let go.
  • When all else fails, take a deep breath and let go.
  • Oddly enough, as soon as you really let go, they come back… with laundry!” Kate, son Ben is in grad school at SCSU (Southern Connecticut State University)


    ©Microsoft Office

For me, the letting go has commenced, but it is a process. I appreciate the wonderful advice, of which I’m sure there’s more out there. Just saying, I won’t mind the laundry if it comes home.

Other blogs to check out:

New start, sad end: College kids’ parents grapple with letting go

Saying Goodbye to College-Bound Kids

Sweet Sorrow of Saying Goodbye to the College-Bound: Understanding and Coping with the Empty Nest, The


Saying goodbye to your college-bound kids
Follow these tips to help handle your children’s send-off to school

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