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7 Words of Encouragement for Sending a Child to College

7 Words of Encouragement for Sending a Child to College

In August of every year I see the posts and get the emails. Parents are dropping off their kids at college—and it’s hard. I know it is hard.

Our first son went to college in the city where we lived, so we got a somewhat break from this one—although even them moving in a dorm room across town is hard.

I think it’s the empty bed that causes such a problem—you know, the one in the room you used to fuss about never being clean? And the empty spot at the dinner table. And the laughter. And sometimes the late night school project because they thought it wasn’t due until next week.

There is a profound sense of loss. (Word to parents of children at home: Enjoy those messy bedrooms while you can.)

When our oldest son went away to school—nearly eight hours away—it was almost more than I could stand—or, so it felt like at the time. With both boys out of the house, I went through a minor depression stage. And I know the symptoms. It felt life would never be as good again. And my wife and I had and have a great relationship together. We simply loved having our boys at home.

I have had a few years to process moving a child to college and I have some advice to share. Please know I’m being sensitive. About every year I get a frantic email from a parent. Everyone responds differently, but it hits some people so hard they are near panic.

These are particularly helpful for the time of dropping off your child at college and the few months which follow—those appear to be the hardest.

Here are some quick words of encouragement about leaving your child at college:

Don’t overstay your welcome.

When the time comes to leave—leave on a high note. This may be the most important advice I can give and the one I didn’t do right. You want to see them having fun if possible.