When Your Teen Leaves Home
It’s a traumatic time when your teens leave home, flying the nest. Traumatic for you, that is; they’re bursting to go and have their freedom for the first time. But you know that underneath there’s an element of sadness to it all, and that this will always be home to them, no matter how far or how long they’re gone. However, that can seem like small consolation at the time.
Some, such as those going to university, will be back soon enough, if only for a little while. For others there will only be occasional visits in the future.
Preparing Your Teen To LeaveThere are many reasons for leaving, but once out of your house, your teen will need to be more self-sufficient. You’ll help your own peace of mind, and well as giving them a substantial start, if you teach them the basic skills of cooking, cleaning, sewing, how to wash their clothes – the survival skills they’ll require once they’re out on their own.
It’s doesn’t have to be an advanced course, just enough so you’ll know they can fend for themselves. You won’t worry, and they’ll be much happier. It won’t stop panicked phone calls when they try something and it goes wrong, but you’ll enjoy those anyway it’s an indication they’re not completely grown yet.
You can prepare them for their new life materially, too. If they’re moving into a flat, say, make sure it’s stocked with food, pots and pans, dishes and cleaning supplies. If you give them the money to do it themselves, there will be no guarantee they’ll actually buy everything, and besides, you have the experience to know what works well and what doesn’t.
For those going to university halls of residence, there isn’t as much to do. Just make sure everything is in place financially – and drive them down there to help deliver all their stuff (it also means you can take a look at the place).
Without Your Teen AroundYou might have been dreaming of the moment when your teen leaves for years. But when it happens the house will seem very empty. Of course, there might be younger kids still at home, so everyone will feel a mix of loneliness and more space.
However much you miss them, you need to give your teen time to adjust to a new life. They have a lot of exploring to do, so give them the room to do it. Limit the calls to once a week, and only go to see their new place when they issue an invitation (of course, if it’s not been forthcoming after a while, you’d be perfectly fair in making the suggestion yourself).
At the same time, make it perfectly clear that they’re welcome at home any time, whether it’s for a cup of tea, Sunday lunch, or to stay an entire weekend. Issue invitations – not all the time, but often enough so they know you mean it – without being insistent. You’ll be surprised; even the hardest of them will be homesick from time to time.
Once they’ve had a chance to discover themselves, you’ll probably find they become regular visitors, if only to have their washing done properly and to have a good, filling meal.