My only child is now 19 and he is away at college. Last year, his freshman year, was really tough on me. Thankfully this year is better but I still really feel his absence in my day to day life.
Anyone else with a child who no longer lives at home? We are still working out the details of how to stay in touch. If I had my way, we'd talk on the phone everyday. If he had his way, we'd text a lot but only chat on the phone once a month. So we continue to search for middle ground. How do you stay in touch with your adult child? How is your relationship changing?
I'm not quite there yet, but almost. 18 y.o. DS decided to stay at home while attending university this year, instead of taking a gap year to travel or attending an out-of-town school. He's mostly motivated to stay in this city because he's involved in the music scene here, playing and recording with his band. In September, observing his friends who were living in dorms or apartments out-of-town, he admitted that he realized he'd like to try it himself. Since then, he's visited his out-of-town friends a couple of times. I wouldn't be surprised if he moves out within the year.
For the past couple of summers, we've left DS at home while we go away to our cottage for a week or so. He's had to stay behind for his summer job. I texted him once a day in the afternoon and we would exchange texts for a short conversation. That was enough so that he knew we missed him and that he wasn't forgotten and that he was okay.
We had dinner on Saturday with friends who have a son away for his first year of university this year. They Skype with him every Sunday and otherwise text or e-mail during the week. It seems to be the right balance for them. I think we would probably work out a similar schedule with DS if/when he moves out. For us, that's probably the right amount of contact.
It's all going to depend on your and your child's personality. And how long he's been away from home on his own. The longer they are independent, the more they are willing to seek advice and conversation from parents imo. Probably has to do with needing to be independent and figuring out life on their own and how they fit into it.
My girls have been gone for upwards of 10 years now. I talk to one 4-5 time a week, the 2nd one 2-3 times a week, and the 3rd maybe once a week. None of us are great talkers on the phone. I talk to Joy so much in part because we both have children at the same charter school. And none of us are great phone talkers anyway. We are more apt to drive over and drop in to talk instead of talking on the phone. It's good that we all live in the same city.
As far as our relationship goes, it's now on an adult level than a parent/child relationship. That I only have with my son now. And as he enters the teens, that relationship is changing from active parenting to mentoring and as he becomes an adult, it will go to an almost equal level where I am an adult he can go to for advice.
Both sons (22 and almost 19) are away at school. We use google chat a lot, but they'll sometimes phone or skype too. DS1 was in contact less frequently as a freshman than he is now. He's in an off-campus rental, so we have some shared household aggravations, commiserate about waiting for appliance repairs, things like that as well as how-was-your-day.
DS2, a current freshman, rarely lets a week go by without a phone call or quick email; will see how that plays out in the future. At this point he's getting his head around living in a new home, adjusting to academics and the people around him. We're reassured to hear he's safe, happy, and sinking his teeth into the work, and we leave it at that.
Can't wait to have them back here for their winter break next month!!
Empty-nesting SAHM to DS1 (1989) and DS2 (1992). Caregiver to my mother (1930). Married to DH since 1986.
Thank you all for sharing your thoughts. I was the first sibling and the first among my friends to have a child, so there are very few people I can talk about this with who are going through it as well. I really enjoyed reading other povs.