Family

4 Tips to Help You Cope When Your Oldest Child Leaves Home

Is it easy to let go of your first born?

between us

Watching your first born child leave the safety of your home, to begin their new life as an adult (without you), has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

I didn’t want to believe that my first born would ever leave my side. I mean, he’s been there with me for 18 years through all my ups and downs. To be honest, I can’t even imagine all the shit I put him through as I stumbled through life aimlessly.

Friends and family members come in and out of your life all the time. But what happens when it’s your first born child leaving home, because they are going away to college or just simply moving out and living over 1000 miles away. Is that every easy?

I will never forget the day my 18 year old son left and moved more than a thousand miles away. 

As you can see in the photo above, I-was-a-mess. Not because my hair ain’t done, but because I couldn’t stop crying and my face was puffed up and red. 

About an hour after he left I found myself ugly face crying, on his bare mattress, in the fetus position. I couldn’t believe how much I was going to miss him. I was in total disbelief. What just happened?

I laid on his empty bed sobbing uncontrollably for what felt like forever. But I got myself up, wiped my tears and told myself that it will be okay.

He will be okay – I will be ok

This was going to be a new normal for me, a new normal for him, and a new normal for the entire family.

 

So what do you do now?

How do you cope with the departure of your first born child?

4 tips on how to dealt with the pain of when your oldest child leaves home

1. Reach out and talk to someone

It’s crucial to reach out and talk to someone about how you feel because it is not healthy to hold in emotions you’ve never felt before.

Yeah, you might randomly burst into tears occasionally, but it’s important to let those emotions flow.

My support system consisted of my husband, my mother, my closest friends and my prayer warrior group. Oh, and my therapist. I can’t forget my therapist. LOL.  

Seriously though, put all your pride & ego aside and let your feelings out. Holding in your emotions and thinking you can “handle this”, is not the way. It won’t help you get past this unexplained emotion. 

If you don’t have a stacked support system like I did, I suggest finding a local/online group of people like you, dealing with the same thing you are dealing with.

2. Get out and do something healthy

Getting out the house and going for a walk, or a run, or even for a drive into town is a must do.

Healthy activities are things we do that make us feel better without having to use an external source, such as drugs or alcohol. One of my favorite healthy activities is to go for a walk on the beach. Walking, just like any exercise you do, creates feel-good endorphins that will help you feel better from the inside out. 

I consider cleaning to be a healthy activity, but I do not recommend you clean your child’s room right after they leave. You might need a day or two before you attempt that because your wounds are too deep right now. You need some time to adjust.

Take this opportunity to treat yourself. Look at you – you raised an amazing, independent, child ready to conquer the world. You deserve a massage, or a new haircut, or both. 

Start setting goals. Set goals that are stress-free and not overwhelming. Click here to read my post about Setting Stress-Free Goals, and receive a free PDF bundle.

You can also take this time to do a healthy activity with any other children you may have. Take them for a walk with you, you’ll be surprised how grown up they are too.

3. Don’t take it personal

This isn’t about you. If you are here reading this, it’s because you feel real pain in your heart, and you don’t know what you did to deserve it. 

Let me start by saying – you did the best you could with what you were given. You provided a safe home. You fed them daily. Shit, I’m sure half the grey hairs on your head are because of everything you did for your children. 

If they weren’t ready to go, if you didn’t raise a great kid, then they would still be at home reeking havoc and you would probably be reading a different blog post right now. But your not, you are here reading this post because you feel sad that your child left home. You feel sad because your oldest child left you.

Majority of what we feel is our own selfish emotions. We take it personal. We try to rack our brains to justify the reason for their departure. Stop doing that. Stop thinking you did something wrong. You didn’t. This is just life and it happens to all parents (eventually).  

4. Keep the communication open

There’s nothing more comforting, for a young adult, than a supportive parent. Let them know that you are available for what ever they may need. Provide advice only when asked, and limit the amount of times you call them or text them. 

They will always need you. They love you, despite the fact that they just left you unprepared for all this anguish. 

If you keep the lines of communication open, trust me they will call. They miss you just as much as you miss them. Just because they left home, doesn’t mean they don’t need your love and support. 

Nothing has changed really. The only difference is the fact that they don’t sleep in your home anymore. I’m sure that in the past few months your child has been doing their own thing with his or her friends anyway. 

in summary

The pain you feel is normal. It hurts now, but it will get better day by day. 

As the days have passed, I find that I’m crying less and less. I used to cry all the time, but now I’m okay. Now, I can actually talk about  him without bursting into tears. I proudly speak of him. I believe he will do great in life, because I know how hard I worked to raise a productive citizen.  

Take it one hour at a time. Don’t think too much into the future, and definitely don’t think too much into the past. It’s easy to get lost in the guilt we sometimes feel when things like this happen, but we must focus on the good memories and not focus on what-ifs. 

No one can ever take away the fact that this is your child, and that you raised him to be better than you. Stand proud – your first born is ready to go out into the world and do their thang.

Let’s review:

  • Watching your first born child leave the safety of your home, to begin their new life as an adult (without you), is the hardest thing any parent has can do. 
  • They will be okay! Remember that you raised them to be productive citizens and survive in a scary world. You must believe that they will overcome any obstacles in their way and succeed beyond your imagination. 
  • There are 4 tips I can offer to help you cope with this; 1) Reach out and talk to someone, be it a friend or family or even a therapist 2) Get out and do healthy activities, or pick up a new hobby, or create a new family ritual with the other children that may still be living at home, 3) Don’t take it personal – remember that this is part of life and that you are not alone in this situation, 4) Keep the communication open – it’s important to be supportive at this moment (even though you are falling apart on the inside).  

Okay, I’m not going to take up any more of your times. Stay tuned for my next post about Self-Help Routines to help you relieve stress by creating productive habits.

 

Talk to you soon,

Yasix  

Don’t forget to leave a comment below and let me know if this post was helpful

 Hi! I’m Yasix

(Yah-Six)

  • Wife
  • Mom/stepmom to 6 amazing kids
  • Culinary Chef
  • Member of the ADHD Club
  • Professional mistake maker
  • Wanna-be Blogger
  • Entrepreneur

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