If you are like many parents, you probably look to your children heading off to college with a mixture of excitement and dread. It can be wonderful to see your children seize their independence. It can also be thrilling to think about the time and space that you’re going to have, especially if the teen years were difficult ones.
At the same time, it can be very difficult to let go of your kids. You may find yourself thinking of when they were babies and toddlers and longing for those days to come again. You may be worried that you’re simply going to miss them. It can help to know some of the ways your life is likely to change in the years ahead.
5 Ways Your Life May Change When Your Children Go to College
Relationship with Your Spouse
If you’re in a relationship with the other parent of your child, the impact of the child leaving home can be huge. Some parents find that they were so deeply involved in their child’s life that they failed to notice they were growing apart. You may want to anticipate some of these changes and talk to your partner about them.
Working together to plan the kind of life that you want to have in the years ahead can give you the chance to reassess and reaffirm your values and the things that you have in common. Even if you find that the two of you have far less in common than you realized, you can try to be interested in the things that each of you values and strengthen your bond.
Going to college is expensive, and even if your kid has savings, scholarships, and loans, it’s likely that you’re going to have to tighten the belt for a few years to help cover these costs. In addition, if they are taking out private student loans, they may need a cosigner.
You might assume that taking on such a role is something you should automatically do as a good parent, but you need to understand what your responsibilities are when you agree to this. You can review a guide that goes over the pros and cons of cosigning on your kid’s student loan.
Relationship with Your Child
Even or perhaps especially if you are very close to your kid, you may need to adjust to a different type of relationship once they head off to college. It’s healthy for them to pull away some and establish more independence even though it may be painful for you as a parent.
This can be a strange transition time in some cases because it’s not as though they have taken a step into full-fledged adulthood and no longer need you. At the same time, they should be taking the initiative to solve more problems on their own. Reflect on these changes and how you can continue to support your kid in an appropriate way while also helping them become more self-sufficient.
If you were a stay-at-home parent or had put your career growth on the back burner while raising your children, this can be a thrilling and dynamic time for you. On the other hand, maybe you had to keep working at a job you disliked because you needed to support your family, and now you can start thinking about a midlife career change. You may have more opportunities for promotion that involves longer hours, travel, or other obligations you could not have committed to when you had a child at home.
Being a parent can mean immense personal growth as you learn to prioritize the needs of another human over yourself. With your kid out of the house, at least part time, you may find your personal growth trending in a different direction. You might take up a new hobby or restart one that you had to set aside while you were raising children.
You may become interested in pursuing projects that you did not have time for in the past. If you are single, this transition can mean that you’re alone in the house for the first time in 18 years or more. This can be daunting, but it can also be a wonderful catalyst for change and growth.