Q: My daughter is going to be studying in another country. That’s making me really worried and nervous.
For a parent, preparing to watch your youngster leave the nest is always a tricky and challenging time. However, there are ways to deal with this big step and manage its impact. And, as always, you are not alone in feeling nervous.
First off. The very fact that your budding educational adventurer is even considering going abroad to study demonstrates that you’ve done a good job in making them confident enough to undertake such a challenge. So, well done.
Think of it this way – you have influenced her and prepared her for this moment through your own upbringing, your own life lessons, what you’ve learned and your own personal journey. Small things like giving her pocket money for doing household chores or encouraging her to maintain a timetable to keep her day organised have instilled key values in her. She knows how to manage her money wisely, and how to keep on top of her own household chores – you did this, you shaped that in her. You see, the beauty of parenting is that it’s ‘ongoing’. It doesn’t have a cut-off point. Your influence, support, guidance and advice will be vital for months, years and even decades to come. Your role may be changing, but her need and belief in you will not.
You say you’re worried and nervous, have you considered that she may also be feeling the same way? She may be going through a lot of stress, particularly during the Covid-19 times we’re living through. And naturally this adds another layer of concern for everyone.
Have a talk with her, reassure her that you’ll always be there. Let her know that no matter how far away she is, you are just one call away, and not just for emergencies. A note of caution though. Don’t go the other way and assume you can call her 24/7! Like all these things, it’s all about striking a balance.
This experience will help her to realise that she can be an independent person. And physical distance from her hometown isn’t something to fear. In fact, the experience will help expand her thoughts and focus her mindset as she will get to interact with other students from different cultures, backgrounds and ethnicities. She will also learn the importance of adaptability as well as making new friends.
However, you must ensure that she is fully aware and equipped to know what leaving home entails. Double-check that she’s not doing this for ‘forms-sake’, to please or appease and not doing this just because she is being ‘peer-pressured’ into it. And, just because friends are doing the same topic in the same country isn’t necessarily cause for her to also!
Finally, if possible, you may be able to accompany her to the new place. This way you will gain some personal reassurances as you’ll know what kind of environment she will be living in. But don’t worry if this isn’t the case as I’m confident you’ll both find this new chapter exciting, challenging and ultimately very rewarding.
Russell Hemmings is a Dubai-based lifecoach and cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist, and author of The Mind Diet and Active Positive Parenting (russellhemmings.co.uk). Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.