Launch a Success!
Failure to Remember Socks and Underwear
by Pam Dillon
Just a month ago, thousands of Ottawa parents said goodbye as their children left home for an out-of-town education. Kids moved out and on.
High-ho, high-ho, off they went to nondescript dorm rooms and student housing on and off campuses. So many clean, neatly folded clothes headed out the door it was a shock, I’ll tell you.
But really? The phone charger too?
As any helicopter(ish) parent has discovered, you land for a nanosecond to refuel or buy poop bags for the dog (the coloured ones with the patterns), and away they go.
Pouf. You blink, they vanish. With enough groceries to last until 2017.
The departure is no easy education, especially for moms and dads with virtual propellers on their thinking caps. Here’s the thing, though: It’s time to put that whirlybird to rest and buy a new hat. That’s because helicopters that vibrate too much can fall apart. Literally. It’s true; google it.
It’s also true your kids will appreciate it if you don’t get in the car and drive to Toronto or Peterborough because you found the missing T-shirt or forgot to put bandages with the outgoing toiletries. You may be tempted; don’t do it.
You may be tempted to “check in” each day; don’t do it. This is their time to figure things out, their opportunity to learn “adulting.” They need space for that. They may indeed forget their socks and underwear. They may lose a coat, a wallet, a phone charger (or four) and a dozen pairs of ear buds.
No biggie. They need to learn that when things go sideways—a poor mark on a first test or a conflict with a roommate— they have the problem-solving skills to manage. Hovering gets in the way of that perspective.
You’re on standby now as a sounding board and a source of reassurance. As you do talk, text or instant message, and it might be quite often and fun, it’s okay to encourage them to ask questions and speak up for themselves when they want on-site guidance or options. It’s also a good idea to ask how they’re getting along with money and budgeting. There are plenty of apps to help them stay on track and avoid the unease that comes with a dwindling bank account and squiggly noodles.
Soon enough they’ll be home and your groceries or hair gel will vanish, in the most reassuring of ways.