Updated: Aug 28, 2019
Your child is awaiting the day that they get to go to university.
You find your mind ruminating and worrying.
This is natural there are so many unknowns, there is so much in the press about the challenges of being a student, you have so many expectations about what a good future could look like for your loved ones.
Remember that worrying is natural, it comes from you wanting to have certainty and security for the future. Sometimes the way we respond to worry makes it louder and more intrusive.
We can feed worry by:
Allowing our minds to catastrophise
If you are automatically thinking about the worst case scenario then pause for a moment. We do this as we want to feel prepared for the worst thing that could happen but how likely is it. In the unlikely event that things are difficult trust that you will have the skills to manage the situation. If you find it hard to let the thought pass, write it down. The act of writing it down may feel ridiculous. In which case it gives you permission to dismiss the thought. As you write you can plan out what you would do. Once you have written it down when your mind jumps to it, point out to yourself that you have dealt with it.
Not addressing the root cause of the worry
The thing you are worrying about may not address the cause. Is the worry actually highlighting your own doubts and insecurities. It's OK to feel a loss. You have spent the last 18 years building up a routine that involves your role as a parent. It will take time for you to build up a new routine that gives you meaning and identity. You are still a parent, it is just the routine at home is different and by your child going to university you are parenting them in their next stage of Independence.
Responding to worry by suppressing it
It may not always be appropriate to share your worries with your child however, if you can you can talk to them in an adult like way about your concerns. If this isn't appropriate look for your support network, on line or in person and express your worries.
Not giving our self the right to have concern
Even if you think that you do not have the right or should not be worried it is OK to feel concern.
Remember the ideas you have for your loved ones may be different from their own ideas. Listen to what they want and do what you can to understand the value they have placed on this.
There is no such thing as errorless learning. Whilst we want to protect them from pain have faith that they will be able to learn from when things don't go to plan.
You may notice that you are restless, tired, your thoughts are racing, your appetite or sleep are impacted. These are signs of stress. Take a moment right now to breath out. Ask yourself what do you need.
Things that can be helpful include:
Being close to someone
Light exercise or a walk
Taking some long slow breaths
Taking a moment for you- you do have time.
In my blog "Should I disclose to UCAS About Mental Health " I talk about the ways you can support your child. I have also created a checklist that you can give to your DD / DS so that they can consider what skills they can develop in the last couple of weeks before university. On IN August I am hosted a workshop for those going to university to plan in more detail.
If you would be interested in future dates for this course or would like to arrange a coaching session with your child to prepare them for university then contact me.
Read more blogs by Sarah here.