Going to University: A guide for anxious parents

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Sep 13, 2021
x Min Read

As life events go, going to University is a big one. For most young adults, this is their first taste of real freedom. But with this freedom comes a high level of uncertainty and anxiety. 

The stresses encountered by first-time university students are widely recognised. However, the stress that is felt by those who have brought up these young adults is very rarely discussed. 

When your child leaves to further their education it is also a huge life change for you. You are likely used to them being around the house, their stuff being everywhere and knowing what is going on with them. Yet once they go to uni, this can all change, resulting in potential anxiety. 

In this article, we are going to offer you some tips for dealing with the anxiety surrounding being a parent or guardian of a new university student.

Know What is Coming 

When your child leaves for university it can be a shock. In most cases, they have been a permanent fixture in your life for 18+ years. The contrast of your child being on their summer break and suddenly disappearing from the home can be a lot to take in.

A lot of parents joke about not being able to wait for their kids to go to university. But many of them don’t realise that they rely on their children just as much as their children rely on them - especially emotionally. 

The first step to overcoming anxiety is to be aware of what is about to happen. It can be a good idea to clearly mark key dates in your calendar so you know what is imminent.If you know what is coming it can be easier to come to terms with and won’t be so much of a shock. 

Dealing With Personal Anxiety 

Although being aware of what is coming can help, it is doubtful that it will totally remedy your anxiety. You also need to be proactive in finding ways to keep yourself calm. 

This may include using breathing exercises throughout the day to help you remain mindful of what is going on. You may also want to talk to your children or loved ones about how you feel so that they can offer you emotional support. 

If you find it difficult talking to others, noting down the positives of this change can help you bring yourself out of a dark place when you find yourself there. 

Crucially, it is important to remember that your child will need your emotional support and you need to remain strong for them during this time. 

Plan Your Support

As a responsible parent or guardian, it is obvious that you need to be there to help your child when they go to university.  This spans from helping them build practical skills to helping them with logistical needs and offering them emotional support.  

Practical Needs 

Although they may seem obvious to you, many young adults have relied on their parents all their life for their basic needs. Taking the time to ensure that your child knows everything they need to keep happy and healthy will help both your and their anxiety levels when they leave for uni.

These skills may include: 

·      How to do a basic food shop 

·      How to cook basic,nutritious meals

·      How to do laundry 

·      How to manage their money (including paying bills on time)

Logistical Needs

Planning logistical needs ahead of time will save a considerable amount of stress when it comes to physically getting your child to university.This may include:

·      Ensuring that they purchased and packed everything they need 

·      Creating a plan for how they are getting themselves and their stuff to university on moving day

Emotional Needs

Although they may not be vocal about it, your child is likely feeling just, if not more, anxious as you about going to university. 

It is important that you talk to them about how they feel about the move and which areas they might be struggling with. Being overbearing is not going to be productive, but making regular check-ins on how they feel before and after they move can be a good way to assess their emotions overtime. 

Young adults don’t always find it easy to talk to their parents about their emotions. Therefore, it can be a good idea to teach them methods to help them cope. This could include teaching them breathing techniques or teaching them mindfulness practices. To ensure they are reminded to proactively use these techniques you may also give them a journal or a melo meditation aid

Anxiety and Sending Your Child to University 

From homesickness and exam stress to covid,there are many reasons why students and their parents may get anxious about going to university. Use this guide to ensure that you remain aware of this anxiety and find ways to properly deal with it.

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