You know your decision to send your child off to boarding school is the right one. You have done the research and selected the perfect school. And you are excited for him to learn and grow in this formative step in his life. But you miss him. Desperately at times. What can you do to deal with the inevitable heartache that comes with sending your child off to boarding school?
Here are three simple ways to cope with missing your child.
1. The three A’s: acknowledge, allow and accept. Don’t deny how you are feeling, rather, own it.
- Acknowledge that everyone copes differently when a child leaves for school. Maybe you’re feeling anxious, sad, or lost. Whatever it is, tell yourself that it is normal to have feelings when your child isn’t living at home.
- Allow the time you need to get used to your new normal. You’ve spent years with him living at home - it will take time to adjust.
- Accept help if you need it. Talking to someone about your feelings can be just what you need to manage your emotions. Maybe it’s a friend, family member, priest, or therapist. Being away from your child is hard, even when you know it’s the right thing.
2. Think about what you want. If you have a child or two, chances are since they were little your interests and needs haven’t been the main focus in your life. But now that you have more free time, you can take the opportunity to concentrate on what makes you happy and fulfilled. What sounds good to you?
- Make plans. Reconnect with friends by meeting at the park for a walk, try that new restaurant, or start simply with a phone call to an old friend.
- Volunteer. Your favorite local charity would love to have your help, and you will feel great giving back to your community. It’s a win-win.
- Join a club. There are so many options - book clubs, wine clubs, car clubs, pick one!
- Take a class. What do you want to learn? Maybe it is speaking a new language, learning to fix engines or something in between. There’s a class for that.
- Catch up. Most likely, there are projects you have been meaning to get to but haven’t had the time. Working on them and crossing them off your list will take your mind off missing your child and will have you feeling accomplished.
3. Pen in time to talk. Set up a time to chat with your child regularly. Maybe it’s Mondays with mom, or Facetime Fridays with dad, be sure to get it on your calendars and make it happen. Not only is it healthy and necessary to catch up with your kid regularly but looking forward to your conversations will help you feel better. Also - make sure you keep a list of things that come up in between your talks that you will want to discuss.
Parenting isn’t easy. In fact, letting go of a child as they move through life can be the most challenging part. Finding comfort in knowing he is where he is supposed to be and being kind to yourself is a good place to start. Everything else will fall into place.