Tips for Parents
Handling Goodbyes, Emotions and All
It's time for students to say goodbye — to beloved friends who may be graduating or transferring, to a residence hall community they really felt they belonged to or to an academic year that treated them well. Or maybe your student is graduating and saying goodbye to his college years.
These goodbyes can be emotional for many students, and they can show it in multiple ways:
- Crying or getting choked up more regularly
- Trying to cram in as much social time with people as possible
- Avoiding those they'll be missing
- Engaging in high-risk drinking to numb the pain
- Keeping themselves busy so they don't have to face the emotions
Helping Your Student
Everyone has their own way of dealing with the emotion of goodbyes. You can help your student deal with this difficult time by:
- Encouraging her to make time with friends before it's too late — so she doesn't have any regrets
- Listening when he wants to talk about what he's feeling
- Helping her look forward to what the summer and next year will bring
- Staying tuned in to his emotions — and offering to talk whenever he likes
- Speaking up if you hear her dealing with emotions in unhealthy ways
Also be prepared if you're picking your student up after the school year has ended. He'll likely want to spend time saying goodbye to folks when you may be ready to drive home. Compromise and communicate in this situation. Unfinished business in the arena of goodbyes can be damaging and grounds for regret. It's important for students to feel like they've wrapped up their important relationships in the best way possible.
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