Parents need to let go at the college drop-off so kids can thrive, experts say

“The emotions at drop-off and in the days afterward run the gamut,” Mary Anne Donaghey, a Boston-area mom of four sons who has seen each one of them off to college, told Fox News Digital this weekend.

“It’s overwhelming,” she said. 

“You feel anxiety, loss and incredible pride — all at the same time.”

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In October 2021, 61.8 percent of 2021 high school graduates ages 16 to 24 were enrolled in colleges or universities, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last year.

If those numbers hold true this year, that’s a lot of moms and dads hugging their kids and waving goodbye with mixed emotions as their kids start the new adventure of higher education — and a new period of growth all around.

College is a time of discovery and exploration for students. Parents have their own challenges to navigate, too.

College is a time of discovery and exploration for students. Parents have their own challenges to navigate, too. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

Here are some smart survival tips for parents who are sending a child off to college this year — from those who know and who have been there.

Cut back on the constant connection

“Many parents ‘come to college’ with their freshmen via technology, talking and texting throughout the day about every class, meeting and assignment,” Dori Hutchinson, Boston University’s Sargent College associate clinical professor and director of services at BU’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, told BU Today, a campus publication.

“The hardest thing for me was the lack of daily communication.”

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