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Coping Strategies for Parents & Guardians

Recognize that feelings of ambivalence about your child leaving home are normal.

For most families, this step can seem like a dramatic separation of parent and child, although it is more typically the separation of adult from almost-adult. It is also normal to look forward to the relative peace and quiet of having your active older adolescent out of the house and having the place to yourself, or being able to spend time with your younger children.

Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions may surface.

There is little benefit to pretending that you do not feel sad, guilty, relieved, apprehensive, or any other emotions you might have about your child getting ready to leave for college. You probably aren't fooling anyone by trying to hide your reactions. A healthier approach is to talk about them– with your family, friends, clergy, or whoever else is a source of support for you.

Make an “overall wellness” goal for yourself.

Especially during stressful times, it helps to get plenty of sleep, eat healthy meals regularly, and get adequate exercise. Spending some time recharging and doing the special things that you like is another step toward wellness. If you are feeling good, you are more likely to have the energy to help your child and be a good role model.

Remember that college is an important developmental step toward adulthood for your child.

It represents the culmination of 18 years’ worth of learning, much of it geared toward helping your child assume a productive place in the world. This is the time when your hard work will show itself, in the form of a foundation that your freshman will use to begin making independent choices. Many parents find that it helps to focus on the fact that providing your child with this opportunity is a priceless gift. Be proud of yourself!

Find a new creative outlet.

Parents, especially those whose youngest or only child has moved away to college, will find that taking on a new challenge is an excellent way to manage and channel their energy and feelings. Have you ever wanted to write a book? Learn to fly-fish? Make a quilt? Volunteer in your community? Assume a new project or responsibility at work? Travel? Get your own bicycle and ride all over town? Make a list of all the things you intended to do while your child was growing up, but never had the time. Now is your chance!

Contact Us

Humanities, Room 150
One flight up the turret entrance
Phone: 410-617-CARE (2273)

Call to schedule an appointment
Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.


REACT Online

REACT is an online video that explains how to help yourself or someone you care about cope in healthy ways after a distressing life event (such as a trauma, assault, or loss).