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How do you let go when your child goes to college?

I really blew it. My daughter came to me yesterday (on mother's day, of all days) and told me she wanted to attend college in Colorado (we live in PA) and live in an apartment with her best friend who lives in Colorado. She doesn't have a well-thought out plan - a lot of is contingent on her friend - and partly because of this, partly because I was being selfish, I lost it. I went on about how I poured my heart and soul into her, and that I don't have other family near me, and when will I ever see my future grandkids? How do I handle this without losing it again? I've been crying my heart out since then.

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wheresmymickie

Asked by wheresmymickie at 1:26 PM on May. 11, 2009 in Teens (13-17)

Level 1 (0 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • You need to just let her make her own decisions, and know that college (and the experience of college) will be a great thing for HER... My mom also felt this way, she wanted me to go to community college...I wanted to go to a college only 3 hours away. I still feel very resentful toward her over this, and it has been 6 years. I love my mom, but sometimes I regret not going through with it. I feel like you should just take a step back and realize that it is her life, and this is what she needs to do. She will visit and call and after college is over, she will most likely come back home and find a job that she will be well qualified and educated for. Good Luck, let your child follow her heart and dreams, No matter how hard it may be...
    pamelajqs

    Answer by pamelajqs at 1:31 PM on May. 11, 2009

  • wow, you DID lose it huh? She was just approaching you with ideas. Kids do this. You could have heard her out and told her to get back with you when she's got things better planned and you can talk about it. Most colleges don't want first time freshmen living off campus. Has she been accepted in the school? Are her grades good enough to get in the school? Do you have the tuition for an out of state college? It's just the talking stage so just talk. You can shoot it down with logic not emotion. If things do all work out for her to go, odds are high that she might not like it and want to come home. Many first semester freshmen leave. Just calm down and tell her to figure it all out AND to bring you other options as well (like in your home state to keep tuition down).
    admckenzie

    Answer by admckenzie at 1:31 PM on May. 11, 2009

  • if you don't have other family near you why don't you move to colorado. you don't have to move near your daughter. But your daughter came to you with news that she wanted to go to college. be happy that she is going to college. many kids don't get the opportunity. I know this hurts you because she will be far away. but she is venturing out on her own for the first time. don't ruin this for her. this is going to be her first experience away from home. you should set up a day where you call each other and talk for hours. a daughter has a large connection to their mother after they leave the house. trust me, i couldn't stand living with my mom and never thought we were going to be friends like we are now. she is my best friend. but i think if your daughter wants to go to colorado and experience life and college on her own. then go for it. support her and think about moving out there too.
    2wndrfl_btrflys

    Answer by 2wndrfl_btrflys at 1:31 PM on May. 11, 2009

  • I'm sure you want her to go to college. Part of the planning is about where to live, what's more cost effective, dorm or apartment, and will she work to help defray costs. Talk to her about the plan (regardless of where the college is) in a rational way. Just as you'd make a plan for anything else. Get her input on what she was thinking. Find out what the living arrangement of the friend is. What will happen if the friend moves, etc. Is she going for school, or is she going to spread her wings? What's her motivation.
    EireLass

    Answer by EireLass at 1:31 PM on May. 11, 2009

  • I know how you feel. Sometimes I tend to feel a little selfish about my kids growing up and leaving home. I have one in his third year of college and one starting in the fall. It's hard letting them make choices when you feel like you know them so well and don't want to see them make mistakes, but I've found that it is best to trust them to remember what you've taught them while they were growing up. It is a real blessing when they succeed. However, if my child were making a really bad decision, I would not feel like it was wrong to discuss the reasons you disagree and to let them know that you are there for them even if it doesn't work out. The thought of my children (& future grandkids) living so far away you don't see them has been a hard idea for me too. If it happens, then we just have to show them we love them in as many ways as we can even from another state (or country). Wishing her (and you) the best!
    minasmama6

    Answer by minasmama6 at 1:45 PM on May. 11, 2009

  • You gave her life so she could live it right? Not so she could keep you company. I understand your feeling sad believe me. When my son left home 4 yrs ago, I thougt my life was over, but you move on.
    salexander

    Answer by salexander at 3:22 PM on May. 11, 2009

  • Didn't you raise her to eventually be on her own and live her own life? You just have to let her go. She never said that she wouldn't come back after college. Stop being so selfish and let her go. Once she turns 18, you can't stop her anyway. You can call, text, email and visit her. She needs this time to become an independent adult.
    tyfry7496

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 3:54 PM on May. 11, 2009

  • LETTING GO IS ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS I HAVE EVER DONE, BUT DON'T DEPRIVE HER OF THE COLLEGE EXPERIENCE, IT IS A CLASS IN ITSELF TO LEARN TO DO WITHOUT YOU AND MAKE HER OWN DECISIONS IT IS A ONCE IN A LIFETIME LEARNING EXPERIENCE. DON'T FALL INTO THE CATEGORY OF PARENTS WHO MAKE THEIR KIDS FEEL GUILTY ABOUT LEAVING YOU, IT IS THE CYCLE OF LIFE, YOU MUST OF DONE IT TOO! YOU LEARN TO ADAPT, AND IF YOU CREATED A GOOD ENOUGH BOND SHE WILL NEVER BE VERY FAR. I CAN RELATE TO YOU IN SO MANY WAYS, I HAVE LET GO THREE TIMES ALREADY AND I CAN TELL YOU IT DOESN'T GET ANY EASIER, BUT YOU DO ADAPT, AND ENTER A NEW STAGE IN HER LIFE AND YOURS.
    older

    Answer by older at 3:55 PM on May. 11, 2009

  • I never had a problem. I was just so excited for them and happy they were getting to go and have this grand adventure starting their final passage into adulthood. I just couldn't be sad. I was just so proud and had such a sense of accomplishment for having helped them successfully get to this point. How could I be sad? I don't need my children living in my shadow to be happy. Just knowing they are out in the world having a life and seeing all there is to see makes me want to go too!
    jesse123456

    Answer by jesse123456 at 7:47 PM on May. 11, 2009

  • I understand the emotional part of it... but there is a place to ask the questions she may not be able to answer... such as...
    how much is tuition?
    how will she pay for an apartment?
    how will she furnish and get what she needs for an apartment and how will she get it there?

    If you don't have enough money to support this decision financially, you need to tell her. "I can only afford to have you live at home and pay $x.xx towards your tuition. If you want to go to Colorado to school, you'll have to show me how you will pay for it.

    Sometimes the reality of the checkbooks changes what she will end up doing. (I know it did for me!)

    :)

    Lisa
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:17 AM on Aug. 29, 2009

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