Reader question: How do parents cope with transition to college?

I got an email last week from a mom who has several issues as her son’s first days of college approach rapidly. It seems he’s not quite motivated to get prepared for actually leaving. But if she can get him out the door and into the dorm, then she has other worries — how will she face the empty nest syndrome. Check out the mom’s note below and give her your best advice on both fronts. (I think we’ll do some college questions this week. If you have other college-related questions send them to me at

“My one and only is going to start his freshman year at GA Tech in only 3 weeks.

I can’t get him interested in buying stuff that he will need in his dorm room, or coordinating things with his roomie.  I’d also like him to sort out some things a la Toy Story III so that when he leaves I can finally find the floor in his room to clean it.  He doesn’t need to be pushed out the door, but he needs to be pushed to get his act together to get there.  Do others have this challenge?

I am already starting to grieve!  He and I drove to and from school together for years and had some great conversations and time together.  I will miss him so much!  When I mentioned this to a colleague, she told me that i needed to get a hobby!  Truth is, I have tons of hobbies, and my husband and I do lots of fun things together. ….. but I still enjoy having face time with my son.  How have folks handled the empty nest syndrome?  Even if your nest is not close to empty yet, how do folks think their parents handled the life change?

Other concerns I have with this college transition thing—How much spending money should he have?  How much should I initiate communication without butting in?  Should we wait to be invited to visit?  I don’t want to hover, but I don’t want to be excluded from his life yet, either ( which seems to be what he would like right now!)

How do parents handle this transition to college?”

(Check back at 2 for a second topic — I am posting a photo of the outfit I did wear to my 20th high school reunion. I did see New Mom (and she looked fantastic!) but I didn’t get a photo of us together! New Mom if you shot one of us email it to me. I didn’t shoot  very many.)

57 comments Add your comment


August 2nd, 2010
9:35 am

When I was getting ready to leave for college, I started packing like weeks in advance. I literally COULD NOT wait! But to the mom who sent the e-mail: as eager as I was to leave, after two weeks I was horrendously homesick and could not wait to come home! My advice is to give the kid some space the first few weeks, believe me, he will call once he gets settled.


August 2nd, 2010
9:50 am

Sent my off to 10th grade this morning so it won’t be too long before I’m in this mom’s shoes (well hopefully anyway!)

I don’t have any answers but one suggestion I have is that I think it’s a little easier now days because everyone has cell phones and can text. Mom can send son a text message just to let him know she’s thinking about him without being over intrusive. Also, after 2-3 weeks, if he hasn’t brought up coming home, maybe mom can suggest her and dad come take him to dinner one evening when he’s not real busy.


August 2nd, 2010
9:55 am

I went through this last year with my daughter. Girls love to shop, and that’s what she did all summer long, shop for Dorm supplies. She had a job, and she was able to purchase most of the items herself, along with the money she got for graduating high school.

My nest was only empty for about a month, when I let an unemployed friend move in. However, the roommate finally found employment and she will be moving out the end of September. My daughter is going back to school in two weeks, and I couldn’t be happier. I will finally have my empty nest. I have NUMEROUS projects on a list to start once the house is empty.

You have to find things to occupy your mind. You also have to realize that you have done your job for 18 years, and now it’s time for them to “flex their wings” and start living their lifes.

The child in this particular case, is only going downtown Atlanta. I am sure he will be home on weekends. But once he starts making friends, and getting involved in the school, those visits will be less and less. Then you really look forward to getting that face time. My daughter usually comes home about once a month, but I do talk to her just about every day.

Congratulations to this mom who is sending her child to GA Tech. That’s a wonderful school and you should be incredibly proud!!!!!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 2nd, 2010
9:59 am

I think boys don’t have that same shopping/nesting instinct that girls have. They want to coordinate with their roommates and buy all the stuff to make their rooms cute and useful and I just don’t think boys care that much. They’ll show up and when they realize they need a can opener they’ll go buy it. When fungus grows on their feet they’ll finally pick up some flip flops. this mom wants him to plan like we would and that’s not a 18-year-old boy I don’t think.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 2nd, 2010
10:00 am

The photos may go up later than 2 — i have to take the kids in for well visits this morning and I’m running late so it may be 3 on the photos — theresa


August 2nd, 2010
10:12 am

Spending money is a tricky issue – if you are supplying it then a limit is a limit only if you do not bail him out when the “allowance” is gone before the next amount is ready. We had a friend who gave their son money for a full semester his first year at Ga. Southern and he spent it all during the first month (Hilton Head is just too close to Statesboro)! My two seemingly had enough sense to understand that what they got was what they got, though in retrospect I probably gave way too much – I was probably overcompensating since I never had anything other than what I earned in the summer and the $10 a week my dad would send back when I was in college (at that time gas was much cheaper ane I was on the meal plan). If he has his own “stash” of money then you can only hope he knows that it, too, is limited since he will be in college at least 4 years.

Regarding visits, as JJ said, since he is so close that may not be a problem – my only suggestion NEVER show up unannounced – it may be embarassing for him and for you. My kids were out of town so we never had to worry about the unannounced aspect. Good luck – it is fun once the empty nest kicks in – after we got used to it, when they would come home, after about 1 – 2 days we would say to each other “are they still here”? (we never said this out loud though – LOL)

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War Eagle

August 2nd, 2010
10:40 am

I was the one who bought and packed I was so excited for him(last year)so he had just about everything that I could think of! As for spending money…he had a job in High School and still has one in college…we pay rent…he pays everything else.


August 2nd, 2010
10:44 am

I usually sent my daughter $100 every time I got paid. It teaches them to budget.


August 2nd, 2010
10:45 am

I am a current grad student at UGA, and went through this just four years ago. Unfortuantely, I was suffering from a deep depression, so I came home often. My freshman year I lived in a dorm which houses both boys and girls on the same hall- my next door neighbor was a boy. From my experience, boys simply don’t shop for college. Like said, when they realize they need something, they’ll go get it. One nice thing to do might be to take him to Sam’s or Costco or something similar for snacks for the dorms- my best friends down the hall literally lived off of easy mac when they weren’t in the dining hall.
What do you mean by coordinate with his roommate? Get matching comforters? Or along the lines of I bring the microwave if you bring the fridge? I certainly hope it’s the latter. That can be important- you don’t need two of most things.
Like someone else suggested, use texting/email to communicate until he makes the effort to call- or offer to come up and buy him and his roommate dinner one night. Let him settle in first.
Good luck!


August 2nd, 2010
11:08 am

Having seem two boys off to college I would advise mom to chill. I agree with T; boys just aren’t interested in that stuff and as long as he has the basics he will be just fine. Let him go, as JJ says you’ve done your job. Both my boys and I always texted furiously, and I suggest you both have Skype so you can have video calls. And the mom should ‘t obsess over empty nest because she will finally be FREE :) When my nest emptied, it was awesome; I can come and go as I please, take trips on a whim, all the things my friends with children at home can’t do.


August 2nd, 2010
11:32 am

My stepbrother did all his packing the night before, and I’m not sure he shopped at all. I’d suggest Mom not worry about his room being set up well. He and his roommate will figure it out if they decide they care enough to bother (and if they don’t care, that’s fine too). Please just make sure he knows not to put metal in a microwave or to try to wash a comforter in a little washing machine (and that jumping on clothes to get them to fit in the machine is a sign one’s overloaded it). His dormmates will be grateful.

dixie pixie

August 2nd, 2010
11:42 am

Take it from a former GT student. . .let him take his time now getting ready. He will not have time later to do much other than classes! I was from Podunk Nowhere and was ready to go. I had no car, so once I was there, I was stuck. Enjoy the few moments of no-stress and relaxation b/c the next 4..5..6 years will be so jam-packed with everything else! The buzz card is the best way to use money and allow them to learn to budget. I would, however, leave a little “fun money” for him. Most parents also don’t realize the true “value” of care packages. They take away a good deal of the homesickness without getting the teasings :)


August 2nd, 2010
11:56 am

Don’t let your child know that you are anxious about your empty nest. My brother went to college 4 years before me. When it was my time to leave, my mother let me know how her heart was breaking. It was crippling enough to know that she was all alone. But had she at least held up a good front and pretended it didn’t bother me, maybe I wouldn’t have worried so much about her.


August 2nd, 2010
11:56 am


lady jacket

August 2nd, 2010
12:42 pm

Lucky for the mom, the dorms at Tech (depending on where he’s living) are very small, so he shouldn’t really buy much. The kid probably has most of what he needs already, and will accumulate the rest as time goes on so that when he is moving out in May, he’ll say “where did all this crap come from??” Give him some space and let him discover new things. But tell him that if he is ever at a party and there is a person passed out drunk, to turn them on their side so they don’t drown in their own vomit…


August 2nd, 2010
12:43 pm

My suggestion is to buy the essentials (bed linen(2 sets), soap, couple of towels, toothpaste, deoderant, shampoo) and he’ll let you know what else is desired once he’s setup.

My parents weren’t very well off, so I was always short of money; so I would suggest you two discuss an amount and adjust it if necessary. Don’t give him too much, because colleges are full of spoiled bratts. My mother-in-law retired early and took a job as a dorm mother at a major university;our best moments are when she talks about the young ladies and how their parents who die if they knew what was happening.

I’m the parent of an only child and I’m looking forward to the empty nest. I’m sure she will pack the night after highschool graduation (2013). I’m sure a dorm mother will have a lot of laugh at this child and wonder if I know what she’s doing.


August 2nd, 2010
12:44 pm

Corrections: their parents would DIE.


August 2nd, 2010
12:53 pm

This is a wonderful opportunity to teach your son some grown up skills. Here is what my parents did for me: Sit him down and have a conversation with him. Ask him to develop a budget for what he expects to spend the first few months of school. Have him put it in writing and do various line items (i.e. food, clothing, entertainment, transportation, etc.) You and your husband should then go through and adjust as you see fit based on your income and what you think is reasonable. I remember my clothing budget was probably 3 times what my parents thought was reasonable when I went away to school! LOL

I suggest setting the budget for the first few months only (maybe until Thanksgiving?) and then giving him an opportunity to revise it based on his actual needs. He really won’t know until he is in school what his needs are.

I wold suggest the coordinating thing with the roommate then leave it alone. If something is ‘missing’ from his room then what? Let him problem solve and figure it out. He will run to the store, borrow from a friend, call you and your hubby to pick it up…he will figure it out.

Regarding the room: give him a deadline to clean up the room and put away or give away things. After that deadline tell him that everything else goes to Goodwill!


August 2nd, 2010
12:53 pm

Theresa is SO RIGHT and I’m glad to hear this. My son leaves on Sunday and could care less about shopping, he said he didn’t care what I bought for him. He’s just ready to go and trusts my judgment for the things needed for the dorm. I told my husband yesterday once he’s there a few weeks, he will come around to calling us (I hope), until we should give him his space to flex his wings. My husband was offended at college orientation because my son didn’t hang with us, I told him he’s no longer our little boy and we have to let go without being offended. I must admit I have shedded some tears as I think of him leaving in 6 days!

Go Jackets

August 2nd, 2010
1:31 pm

I think my mom was about to have a party when I left for Tech, so I don’t think I can understand your feelings…

With that said, leave the guy alone once he gets down there. He needs to rush / make friends / etc. without the constant mom interference. After I had been at Tech and settled in, I called my mom. She would then come by every couple of weeks to take my fellow pledges and I to the grocery store. Not only was she able to meet my friends that way, she became the cool mom that everyone loved and couldn’t wait to see at weddings, etc. later on in life. The easiest way to the heart of college kids is to bribe them with a ride, some money, and some food.


August 2nd, 2010
1:38 pm

It’s a tough one for sure.. having 4 in college over the years, they do keep in touch although sometimes it is more at the start and then trails off a bit as they become involved on campus with friends, classes etc. We always made a point to include new friends out to dinner with us when we visited as it was fun for the kids and us and gave us a chance to meet their group.. also I was always sending care packages.. I would make theme based boxes and include plenty so they had lots to share.. here are some of the ones I have made up over the years. they always looked forward to them! also I would text alot with them just to get a pulse.. I did not do Facebook as I felt it was a bit of an invasion on their privacy, but lots of my friends use it with their kids. and we would always make coming home fun.. we encouraged them to bring new friends from school for the weekend or over the holidays for a couple of days.


August 2nd, 2010
1:49 pm

I’m the mom who suggested the topic today—-thanks, everybody, for your input. I am not a bit worried that my son doesn’t have the skills he needs to be launched. The worst of it for me is that he is a great kid and I have enjoyed his teen years immensely. He is funny and smart and communicative and just fun to be around. I will miss him immensely. I’ll be fine, hubby and I together will be fine, but it will be strange around the dinner table for awhile.

The “coordinating” I was talking about was discussing who would bring the refrigerator, who will bring the router, who has the TV monitor, who has a rug they can throw down…..stuff like that. In such a small space, they don’t need duplicates of things.

I don’t want him to have too much spending money while he is there….but I don’t have a feel for how much is too much or too little. He is the kind of kid who would suck it up and do without rather than ask for more money.

Hubby and I are looking forward to it being just the two of us again… lots of ways…..but the fact remains that I will miss my son and there will be a big hole in my life for awhile.


August 2nd, 2010
1:56 pm

You can’t expect a guy to be as interested in dorm room decorating as a girl. I can’t imagine many things a guy would be less interested in than coordinating purchases with his roommate. My husband’s first roommate didn’t even speak the same language so they didn’t coordinate before, during or after.

If you really want him to have some things for the dorm room, pick a day, put him in the car and take him shopping. Keep it Really simple (no cutesy organizers or coordinated wall hangings). If he truly doesn’t care at all, then go buy him a few essentials (sheets, towel) and let him figure out what he really has to have as he runs across needs.


August 2nd, 2010
1:58 pm

I’m glad to hear that care packages and announced visits ( which include food) are welcome. I’m more likely to send an email from time to time rather than call or text.

Hubby and I ride Harleys, and we told him that we would stop in from time to time—announced in advance, of course—-and he seemed uncomfortable with that. I guess having a mom who is a biker chick is less cool than having a mom who takes your frat bros to the grocery store……


August 2nd, 2010
2:01 pm

When my son went off to school, I bought the basic sheets, comforter set…guys didn’t care about matching. We also got a dorm fridge and I think his roommate got the microwave. The most important thing he got was a locking footlocker because there was no place in the room to secure things with a key. Also, the room didn’t have desks so we bought a very small computer desk and put it together for him to have a place for his computer. Decorating just wasn’t a big deal with guys.
When my daughter went out of state, she called and talked to her roommate but they didn’t worry so much about coordinating colors either! Their room ended up being one of the smallest on the hall, but they made it work! In fact, their room became a gathering place for movie night (daughter was like Blockbuster with the number of DVD’s she took to school) and social time because they were both social girls and loved making new friends! She got involved in many things on campus and was never homesick. We kept in touch through instant messaging online and of course on the phone. I guess my real empty nest came when she graduated, got married, and moved to NC. Then I knew the visits would be few and far between!!


August 2nd, 2010
2:06 pm

@JoDee – some of that coordinating makes sense, but I never did any of that when going to college. It just works out somehow.

Since he is so close, it might be best to just wait and decide which of those he needs to bring after you move him in. Whatever they don’t have, you can purchase and run back down there the first week to give it to him. They’ll survive a week without TV or a fridge. The router is the only thing I would go ahead and purchase to make absolutely sure he has it.

Or you can purchase, keep receipts and take things back if they end up with duplicates.


August 2nd, 2010
2:13 pm

JoDee – you are gonna be just fine!!!!! Ride that Harley wherever and whenever you want!!!! You have obviously done a great job with your son, since he is going to GA Tech!!!!

My first project is to convert a couple of rooms. The one the roommate is in right now, will become my guest room. My daughter’s old room (she moved down to the basement, and has a little “apartment” down there), will be my office. I’m so excited, I’ve never had an office before. It will also double as a craft room, since I love to make jewelry.

My next project is to re-do my kitchen cabinets, then the countertops. I just put in new floors, and want to change the cabinets. I plan on starting this when it gets a little cooler outside, since that is where I will be to sand them down.

Then, on to the dining room table. It has been in my family since my father was a little boy, three generations have grown up with that table. I plan on stripping it and all the chairs, and re-staining them.

Just keep yourself busy. Take classes, join a gym, get out with your friends more often. Now there’s no need to rush home and start dinner……you will be amazed at the free time you find you will have.


August 2nd, 2010
2:15 pm

I would not pay for my child to enter a fraternity or sorority. If he/she wants to do that, then they can pay for it themselves.

Also, I would encourage my child to work during college. Classes take about half the amount of time a full time job takes, so there is no reason a kid can’t work 10-20 hours a week.

dixie pixie

August 2nd, 2010
2:24 pm

There is a Salvation Army beside Engineer’s Bookstore on the back side of campus. Great stuff–great prices. Best thing is, when he is finished using the items, he can donate them back so someone else can benefit. Care packages and off-campus eating are the best “gifts” possible. After 4 years of backpacking with Ramen noodles, I truly know the value of a home-cooked meal. Dorm rooms are tiny–no need for a beanbag chair, tons of clothes, etc. A roll of quarters for the laundry room would be awesome! The change machines are always out of order :) Most dorms don’t allow hot plates in the room–there is usually a common kitchen.

A really beneficial thing is one of the removal towel bars (the kind that stick to the wall) b/c there usually isn’t one to use.

dixie pixie

August 2nd, 2010
2:25 pm

Removable towel bar.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

August 2nd, 2010
2:43 pm

@TWG….you wanted suggestions for topics….here’s one.,8599,2002382-1,00.html


August 2nd, 2010
2:46 pm

“A roll of quarters for the laundry room would be awesome!”

My oh-so-sweet grandfather used to empty the quarters from his pocket change into little plastic lotion jars every night and then give them to me for laundry when he saw me (every couple of months). It’s the little things… :)


August 2nd, 2010
2:47 pm

Rent their books from A fraction of the purchase price!!!!!

They will send the books you order, and will also send a UPS return label when the semester is over. You hold onto the box and return the books in the same box. Also, they plant a tree for every rental. We used this last year, and spent more on buying ONE book, than we did renting the rest all year long!!!

Clark Howard even endorses them!!!!


August 2nd, 2010
2:48 pm

My mother and I bought all my brother’s stuff for his dorm. He loved it. She gave him a deadline to have things packed. We are loading the van for the dorm at “x” you have your things that you want to take next to the van by that time. If you find you are missing something you will either pay to have it shipped to you or you will find a way (he didn’t have a car) to get home to get it or of course you can purchase it with your money.

My parents did not give us spending money in college. We had jobs all summer and were told to make it last or find work on campus as long as grades stayed up.

Might sound harsh but I think we are better for it. Seriously, my parents (I have learned) played it tough but they had a real hard time doing it. They did it so we could become self reliant…but when things were really bad–my brother in a horrible car wreck w/no lives lost but the car totalled and he had a concusion–they were there. Even though he was 23! When I broke my fingers and couldn’t get to the doctor–my dad cancelled a meeting and took me (I was 25).


August 2nd, 2010
2:49 pm

Good suggestion Tiger!!!


August 2nd, 2010
2:58 pm

@JoDee…my two best friends at Ga. Tech were local and I wasn’t. They invited me home often and it was great to get a home cooked meal and some “family time”. Since you live close, I would suggest doing the same. Your son’s friends will love it and you will find out who he’s hanging out with.

College Grad

August 2nd, 2010
3:01 pm

The fact that you’re planning to give your college bound son spending money tells me you are far too involved in his life. Step back and give him room to breathe and figure out who he is without you.

dixie pixie

August 2nd, 2010
3:06 pm

Buy textbooks from someone who just finished the class. Cut out the middleman (Bookstore). Ride the trolley (or whatever they call it now) to Kroger on Saturdays to get groceries. YOU DO NOT NEED $25 SLEEPING PANTS WITH GT ON THEM!!! Tommy at JR’s on campus hires students to work there and is very flexible with class schedules. A great deal of students are tutors as well–can set your own fees. Most fraternities/sororities have study hours during the week. Take advantage of the meal plan–it is all-you-can-eat while you are in the facility. I used to meet my friends for a late breakfast, and make a sandwich to take with me for lunch/afternoon meal. I used to carry to tupperware containers–one for the sandwich and one for fruit/nuts, etc. Also, a water bottle with a carabiner is great–there are many water fountains all over campus.

It really isn’t hard to find inventive ways to make do. “Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without!”


August 2nd, 2010
4:52 pm

@JoDee.Hope that your son is more mature than my coworkers daughter..She is on the phone everyday calling the college for something that her daughter needs..She just now called to find out what the daughters address is..I questioned why the daughter couln’t do that..I was informed that she had soriety stuff to do from 8 am to 10 am and wasn’t able to do call..DUH..

This of course is the same mother that won’t let her 19 year old son drive on the interstate (to dangerous)..She also calls him every day to remind him what time he has to be at work..The list could go on and on, but….Then she will sit here and tell me that she’s not going to baby her son like her mother did her brother..Haha..

Good luck with your son and I hope everything goes well..As others have said, since he’s not going to far away for school, maybe it won’t be that bad..

new mom

August 2nd, 2010
5:26 pm

Theresa–I sadly didn’t get a picture of us together!! I didn’t take our camera, well, because it’s really big, and my phone’s camera doesn’t have a flash so I didn’t even try it. But you looked fabulous! It was great to see you!!! And it was so much fun, I really appreciate all of the work you and the other two put into it. :)


August 2nd, 2010
5:47 pm

Sorry, college grad—you don’t know what you are talking about. Bad advice. I failed to mention to you guys that he advanced several grades throughout his academic career and will be starting college having just turned 17 this summer. According to state laws, I could get into trouble with DFACS for going away for the weekend and leaving him alone. He wasn’t old enough to get any of the jobs he applied for this summer. I guess he should buy his used books (thank you, dixie pixie!) with his good looks?


August 2nd, 2010
6:03 pm

I sent one off 5 years ago and will send one off next week.

Congrats for having a student who got into Tech. My son was at UGA and now my daughter will be there too. WE did not go to UGA.

Not thrilled about it being the number one party school :P My daughter is NOT into football. I will admit I have NEVER been out there on game day.

I was just talking about this ( the attitude about leaving) today with a client who had a son at UGA
( then went to law school and just took the bar exam) and a daughter at Kennesaw.

When my son left, he was OUTTA here. We did not see him most of the semester. He came home his first summer and this past year he lived with us, during his first year at Pharmacy School. I tried to get him the basics all summer long but he was not into the dorm decorations. He managed just fine. He even made his own bed and unpacked himself. I was out of town and my husband went with him! Now he has moved back out. We saw him Saturday, for the first time in 3 weeks.
He is on his own dime…except his cell phone and liability insurance of $55 per month on his car.

We met with my daughter’s UGA room mate and mother about 2 weeks ago. We divided up what to bring and that worked well. The mother is a planner, like me and I was happy. Her room mate is a straight A student, she knew from HS. My daughter is not a straight A student, so I hope this will be a good thing.

Regarding money…we DID NOT send our son spending money. EVER. Once in a while, my he came home and I would give him a $20 to put in his wallet. He usually did not want to take and and reminded me that he had a job and hence had money. Both of my kids have worked and saved. The spending money is their project.

My daughter just got called to work someone else’s shift and as she is heading out…said, ” I can always use the extra money right Mom?” A friend ( whose son went to Tech) told me that he relayed overhearing a phone conversation with a girl at Tech who was chewing out her parents that they HAD to send more than $500 PER WEEK for spending money.

My neighbor’s son just finished his first year and blew through all of his ( saved) spending money quite quickly. They did not send him more. He has been working 50 hours per week all summer and saving for this year. I asked her about him, as I always see him coming and going. GOOD FOR HIM!

My daughter will work about 12-15 hours every other weekend and this will be her source of spending money plus her savings. She is getting a promotion at her job here as they were thrilled to keep her and she will come home twice per month…she can tell them which weekends she wants to work, so she will not miss her things at college. Her car gets 30 plus MPG and I figured she would already be coming home once a month to see her puppy. She will then also have a job next summer and during the breaks. Easier to schedule vacations, if she wants to join us. Many kids did not get a job this summer! My son stayed with his job all through college and now has 3 weeks paid vacation and profit sharing. Seven years into the company next month! My daughter’s Monday class does not start until noon, so maybe she will stay over Sunday night and I will get to see her as I am out most weekends in the fall!

I am not sure if I will cry when she leaves but I know I will miss her. I am proud of her and want her to spread her wings.

RE: a roll of quarters. Yes, we used them in college but most schools I visited here ( in state) use a swipe card for laundry: buzz card and bulldog bucks. My daughter’s roommate’s sister goes to Tech and they use the buzz card. Even in the vending machines use a card, so I am told. So y’all might want to check on that.

Good Luck JoDee! You sound like you have a great son!

JJ…what are you doing with your cabinets? I have the painters coming as soon as we get back from Athens. I am taking out the wallpaper, putting in granite counters, new fixtures, sinks and lights etc. I have picked out fabric for curtains too. My cabinets are white and in good shape. I am going with uba tub granite and red on the walls in the kitchen then gold in the family room. Everyone I have showed it to likes it. We will see!

Any tips on where to get the granite? Home Depot and Loews ( sp?) are higher than some other granite warehouses.


August 2nd, 2010
6:08 pm

JoDee…that age difference could make a difference….mine both had summer birthdays but they went when they were 18. Both mine started working when they were 14 and saving some of their money too!
There are lots of kids who have a hey day spending their parent’s money and the parents put their foot down in November and say, ” no more money….figure it out.” We saw this with my son and will see it again I am sure.

Good luck! You have to do what works for you but having a job is good for kids too IMHO.


August 2nd, 2010
6:30 pm

Just went through this last year….

1) Limit the spending money. Just enough to get him by, but not enough to do road trips or buy the pizza. See how he handles it before you give him more. Make him contact you and explain his spending if he says he needs more. Base your decision on how he spent the money.

2) Limit your contact with him for the first 4-6 weeks. Assume that no news is good news. He will contact you if there is a problem or wants to talk. Text him if you absolutely need to talk to him, but not for chit chat.

3) Deal with the empty nest on your own time. Don’t burden him with it. You will survive it. Just keep reminding yourself that this is what you were raising him to do… become independent and self-reliant.

4) Don’t pull a Toy Story 3 room cleaning. Just close the door and walk away. He will be back for the holidays and probably summer. He won’t appreciate you “cleaning his room”. And you will just be torturing yourself with his absence and his empty room.


August 2nd, 2010
9:20 pm

Daughter (#1) shopped for 5 months before she went off. We took a fully loaded station wagon with stuff on top. Other daughter (#3) and I cried for 6 weeks. Little sis would call big sis and beg to come live with her–she would sleep on the dorm floor and eat scraps out of the college cafeteria. Son (#2) got in the Miata with his two guitars and a sleeping bag. He wouldn’t have had a pillow if #1 had not run out to the car with one. No prep at all. Almost drove #1 (who had just graduated from college) insane. I came up a week later with some supplies. Daughter (#3) shopped some but mostly for clothes. Big sis (#1, at this point 8 years out of college) did insist on her getting some new sheets and a comforter to take. I cried all the way home, and for weeks, but the worst part was when she graduated and went out to Texas (for God’s sake! Texas!)

You will get used to it in a decade or less and your heart will heal, but be scarred.

home tutors

August 3rd, 2010
6:02 am

i think just give some space for sometime .he himself will call u.


August 3rd, 2010
6:58 am

catlady…I got your e-mail from T and sent one to you. Did you receive it?


August 3rd, 2010
9:46 am

MJG – I’m just stripping and restaining them. I haven’t decided what color, but I really like a white kitchen, with either red or yellow paint on the walls. My house it about 20 years old, and I think the wall paper above the cabinets is original. I cannot get up there to tear it down, so I will have to hire someone with a very long ladder……I just put in dark cherry floors so I need to compliment them.


August 3rd, 2010
10:52 am

TRUST YOURSELF: Tell yourself the exact same thing that you are telling your child. “Yes, it will be different and scary at first. But you will be fine, and it will be exciting!” There’s a lot to be said for having the house to yourselves . . . *cough*

1. Spending money: About $75 or $100 a week is generous, especially if they are on a meal plan as a freshman. Not too much — make ‘em think if they really need that funny t-shirt.

2. Best advice I got taking a boy to college: Move him in. Arrange the room nicely. Take a picture. NEVER GO BACK. You will not be able to hide the look of horror when you see what two teenage boys do to a 240 sf space in a month. It’s fine. They will survive.

3. Visit ONCE during the semester, on their terms — maybe during parent weekend. Especially if you live in the samne town as they are going to school in — pretend they are on the other side of the counttry. No running by “because you were in the neighborhood” or because they forgot or need something. You are not their personal messenger!

4. Learn how to text, if you don’t already. People may complain about it, but if you want to communicate with your college kid, you’re going to need to learn how to text. Even emails are getting passe’. It’s the only way you can communicate without being intrusive. Set expections if you can, request a phone call once a week, perhaps on Sunday afternoon or evening. Four years ago, when my son went to college, I’d send him a daily email for the first month — quick, usually with a joke or a link to something he’d enjoy, to let him know I was thinking about him. Care packages are most welcome – include some for them to share with new friends and roommate. We tried Skyping for a bit — which was nice, because you could actually see each other! But that fell by the wayside as more and more friends would be in his room, and no one wants to talk to their mom on Skype with their friends there. (What a loser!) Text messages because the norm.

3. Don’t worry about the stuff he is leaving behind — it’s his way of keeping one foot securely in a world he is familiar with, while stepping out into the unknown. Close the door and just don’t look :-) It will get packed up when he’s ready.

4. Good luck color coordinating with guys — most could not care less. As long as it’s not pink, they’re good. :-) Most will be perfectly happy if you save all that money on color coordinated quilts, etc., and just put the money into a kick-ass TV. :-) However, my daughter is 180 degrees the other way — she LOVES to decorate!

My son and I are very close — but this is unexplored territory for you both, so of course it’s scary. But you have raised him to be independent and confident — trust yourself that you did your job.