As we draw closer to graduation season, a lot of parents are being forced to embrace the reality of their kids officially leaving the nest.
A child growing in their independence can spur a whirlwind of emotions; from deep sadness, to excitement that they’re growing in their individuality, to grief that they’re going to be gone.
Some caregivers may handle their child leaving the home with ease, while others can really struggle with letting go. So how can we learn to embrace the independence of our children while letting go and embarking on our own journey of growth?
Be a Support System
If we look at the purpose of parenting then the step of your child leaving the home is actually very exciting. You’ve done it! You’ve equipped them for their independence.
However, just because your child is leaving the home doesn’t mean that your role as a parent is over. Of course parenting will look different than it did before, but different can be a wonderful and less stressful shift.
A lot of parents struggle with the feeling of not being “needed” anymore. You’ll no longer be needed for daily things but letting your child know that you’re there for them whenever they do need you can be a great way to support them while they’re gone… even if they don’t take advantage of it very often… hello freedom.
You’re forever going to be their solstice from the unknown that they’re entering into and letting them know this can be the best way to offer support in the way that they need.
Let’s Talk About Not Feeling Needed
Many parents get their sense of worth from feeling needed by their children. This is a natural shift of personal value that happens while raising a tiny human for 18 years. However, as your child leaves the home it’s time to learn that you are still worthy even if no one is actively needing you anymore.
You have nothing to prove, you don’t have to give in order to have value in this world. Simply being, and getting back in touch with who you are outside of parenting is a beautiful journey that can bring unimaginable opportunities into your life. As long as you have the courage to go after them.
Shift Your Attention
Ruminating on the well being of your child won’t help anyone. It’s time to shift your focus and have the courage to start on your own journey, the journey of getting to know yourself.
Maybe you have old educational or career goals that you’d like to focus on but have never had the time. You may want to start prioritizing traveling, getting in touch with old friends, or starting new hobbies.
Who knows, maybe you have a secret knack for building birdhouses that you never knew about, or maybe Salsa dancing is the new love of your life. There are so many activities that people will never try simply because they never think to do it.
So think outside of the box, get creative, and start taking risks, because the world is officially your oyster again.
It’s easy to lose your connection with others during the years of raising a child. The majority of your time, energy, and emotions have been directed towards them for so long that you’ve most likely lost touch with other people in your life.
It’s now time to rekindle the spark. Whether that means the spark between you and your significant other or a friendship spark with old friends, start to nurture your own need for deeper connections and prioritize quality time with others.
It may feel like there’s a hole in your home when your child officially leaves, and there won’t be anything that can ever fill that hole. However, you can adapt by changing your perspective to see that although this is a sad time, it’s a happy time as well. Your child is leaving to grow and broaden their horizons while yours get to be broadened in your way.
Embrace this time with an open mind and see what comes your way.