Wednesday, Nov 14th

Last updateWed, 14 Nov 2018 9am

You are here: Home Section Table Parenting
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

emptynestCongratulations – your youngest is off to college! You’ve spent months (really years), planning for this day, anticipating the loss along with the freedom. In many ways, it is a sign of a job well done. So why does it feel so….empty? And how do you get through this period of transition, when your “new normal” doesn’t quite feel normal yet?

It is sometimes said that raising a child is the only job that you eventually get fired from if you do it right. And it can certainly feel like that. It’s so strange after all those years not to think about your child’s schedule or dinner plans, or any of the other things that come with day to day parenting, even if he or she has been fairly independent during the last year or two at home.

So, for starters, be ready for some strong emotions. You may feel absolute happiness one minute (that doesn’t mean you don’t love your children) and bone crushing grief the next. You may feel a quiet sadness, or tremendous anxiety. Is your child going to be ok? Are you? It’s all normal – in fact, you may feel different feelings on different days, or hour by hour. Give yourself the space to be with it all. The answer is most likely yes, you and your child will both be ok, but it is a huge transition, and one to be honored and respected.

Some suggestions:

Plan a few days away after you say good bye at the dorm. This can help ease the transition between school drop-off and your newly quiet house. It can also give you a chance to reconnect with your spouse, with friends, or with yourself, before “life” begins again. If a full trip isn’t in the cards, planning some fun days/evenings in the months to come can help too – concerts, day trips and other things you might not have done easily when there was a teenager still at home.

If you are married, plan projects and activities together. When the two of you are working towards something, not to mention spending the time away from soccer games and college visits, it helps you reconnect as actual human beings and not just parents, which can feel refreshing.

If you truly miss and love the structure of caring for someone/thing on a day to day basis, consider a puppy! There is something genuinely lovely about coming home to a creature that loves you unconditionally and is always up for a cuddle – not to mention that they never roll their eyes, borrow the car, or come home at 2 am. But one word of caution: wait a few months to adopt one – you may relish your newfound freedom more than you expect!

In fact, hesitating a bit before making any big new change is not a bad idea. You may have the urge to dive into a totally new lifestyle – sell the house, travel the world, etc. But wait, settle in. Give yourself time to make thoughtful decisions.

In the meantime, think about ways to spend your time that you enjoy that you may have put on the back burner during all those years of active parenting. Things like hobbies, working late without guilt, meeting friends for a drink after work, taking long weekend hikes, or even going back to school for new certificates or degrees are all possibilities. It can help to make an actual physical list of ideas and start checking them off.

If the idea of spending lots of quality time alone with your spouse fills you more with trepidation than delight – you are NOT alone. After all, it’s been at least 18 years! It may help to know that most couples report that once they settle in, they begin to enjoy each other’s company again, and empty nest marriages often thrive. Of course, there are exceptions, and if you are worried that having kids around helped you avoid some real conflicts, it is ok to meet with a professional to talk things out for a few sessions and see where you are.

And that idea about getting fired…It’s really not true. Parenting doesn’t end once your youngest leaves for college, but it does change. There is still advice and wisdom to be shared, crises big and small to be dealt with, and apartments to be furnished. The challenge now is figuring out how to let go and hold on at the same time, as you transition to parenting a young adult.

stonbergJulie Stonberg is a clinical social worker at Westchester Family Counseling in Hartsdale, www.westchesterfamilycounseling.com. She is the mom of two in college and one still in the nest.

Add a comment

skolnikNYMetroParents, the parenting division of Davler Media Group (DMG) encompassing eight print magazines including Big Apple Parent and the recently acquired Staten Island Parent and the digital platforms NYMetroParents.com, Mommybites and MitzvahMarket, announced the promotion of Scarsdale’s Deborah Skolnik.

In her new position as Director of Content of NYMetroParents, Deborah Skolnik will oversee the expansion of Davler’s parenting properties, in the print and digital realm, with an accent of its fast-growing NYMetroParents.com, the newborn and toddler-focused Mommybites and the event planning hub MitzvahMarket. Current Deputy Editor, Katelin Walling, will be stepping up to assume Skolnik’s position as Editorial Director for NYMetroParents’ print and online properties.

Ms. Skolnik joined Davler in October 2017 assuming the position of Editorial Director for NYMetroParents’ then seven magazine titles. Prior to Davler, Skolnik held a variety of important positions in parenting media. These included an eight-year stint as Senior Editor of Parenting Magazine, and five years as Senior Editor of Parents Magazine, as well as serving as Managing Editor of American Baby and as Features Editor for Women’s Day, New York Daily News and McCall’s.

“In less than a year, Deborah has done an incredible job refining an editorial product that both meets the many needs of NYC-area parents and the advertisers who want to connect with them in a high-quality environment,” said David Miller, Chief Executive Officer, Davler Media Group. “As we deepen our digital offerings and reaffirm our commitment to print, Deborah will be a vital asset in insuring a consistent voice and quality, in creating multiple platform content for New York area parents and families that is without peer.”

Established in 2006 with the purchase of four local parenting magazines (Big Apple Parent, Brooklyn Parent, Queens Parent and Westchester Parent), Davler’s NYMetroParents division has steadily expanded to become the largest, multiplatform parenting resource covering NYC’s five boroughs and five surrounding counties. Its fully integrated network now includes eight regional monthly magazines and five popular digital properties including NYMetroParents.com, the newborn and toddler-focused Mommybites and event planning hub Mitzvah Market. NYMP also boasts rich social media, ecommerce, a 100,000-strong email marketing database and 20 live events each year including Long Island and Westchester Parents Day and its Celebrate and Mommybites-branded showcases. All totaled NYMetroParents’ platforms that reach over 1,000,000 tristate area families each month.

Add a comment

Back to college 618x412With move-in day just weeks away, many parents will soon be taking their college freshman to college and then leaving them there on their own. What should you say – and not say? How often should you call? How should you manage their spending?

Below is some advice from Julie Stonberg, a social worker at Westchester Family Counseling. Here, she gives her own thoughts about sending students off to college for the first time from her experience as a social worker and as a mother. This is followed by some DO’s and DONT's and from college students.

How do you believe parents can best prepare their children for the social pressures of their freshman year in college (e.g. drinking, finding supportive friends, rush process)? How can parents push their children to succeed academically without being too overbearing and adding too much stress?

[...] Now is the time to trust that all those years of daily parenting will kick in and they will begin to figure things out on their own. We have prepared them for this “launch” for the past 18 years! I think it is so incredibly important – as hard as it feels -- to show them that we believe in them, and that we have faith that they will be ok.

[...] One thing I have been talking about a lot with my daughter this summer before she heads off to college in the fall, is about being open to new people and new situations, not making hasty judgments, but instead really paying attention to how she feels about someone or some activity or class. This translates for sure to the Greek scene – we have talked about that idea that if you [have] trust in yourself and understand who you are and where you feel comfortable, you are most likely to wind up with a positive experience. Maybe the “coolest,” sorority or fraternity is not for you. That’s fine! Fin[d] one where you step in and feel at home. In the end it’s about finding a community that is right for you.

With regards to academics, I would say the best thing a parent can do first semester is not add to the pressure their child may already feel, especially if they are in a competitive school [...] You want him [or her] to be able to reach out to you and know he [or she] will get support and love, not questions about grades and assignments. If you really feel like something is not working you can always discuss it when your child is home for winter break, and get feedback from him [or her] in person about how it all felt and what could be done differently going forward. But it’s really important to stress (in this age of everything Instagram) that most kids find first semester and even the first year, to be a huge and not always smooth adjustment.

How can parents balance helping their children financially with pushing them towards independence?

In terms of finances, what has worked best for our family was to set up a checking account in high school where they had “allowance” transferred in automatically every week from my account. When my son went to college, his high school account transferred to a “College Checking Account” (basically the same idea) and we adjusted the amount based on a budget he kept the first few weeks of school. We re-adjusted it again when he went completely off the meal plan sophomore year, taking into account his realistic expenses (again a careful budget kept) and how much he had from summer jobs and other sources. When we sat down and looked at the budget together we were able to come up with a weekly amount that seemed reasonable to both of us and he has very rarely asked for any additional funds.

How often would you recommend parents checking in on their children (text, phone call, or visit)? And should this be initiated by the child or the parent?

Regarding checking in, I have friends that tell me their child calls on the way to classes every day. My son does not. In fact, when he does actually call on the phone, it is usually to discuss something less than pleasant – something that couldn’t be shared in a text or over a family Face Time session. I personally love texting. It’s a way to check in that puts very little pressure on him. I might text him something during the day that makes me think of him, such as “Cooked finally opened,” or some news about one of the teams he played on in high school, or something I heard about Game of Thrones. I usually get a short response, which lets me know he’s alive, and sometimes it turns into a longer exchange. For keeping in touch with teenage boys, I think text might be the best thing ever.

And, although my son and I are now in a fairly good rhythm, in the beginning I tried to give him some space, and let him set the tone. If your child sees a text or missed call from you every time they look at their phone, they won’t have the space to breathe, start to make decisions on [their] own – or miss you!! It’s hard, but try to take the extra time and space in your house and your schedule to enjoy some time with your spouse and friends, focus on a child still at home, or do some of the things you may have put on hold during the crazy full-time parenting years.

I guarantee that if you are busy and happy with meaningful activities, it won’t be long before you glance at YOUR phone and see the following: “Hi mom – wanna FT? I’m in my room….”

Do’s And Dont’s From Students Themselves

DO Send Care Packages: As excited as students are to go to college, homesickness can set in quickly. Even if it doesn’t, care packages are always nice to receive! These can include (but are certainly not limited to) candy, homemade cookies, and Spotify Premium and/or Netflix and/or Hulu subscriptions.

DON’T Plan Surprise Visits: Your kids love you and are grateful for you, but don’t expect a smile if you show up unexpectedly to their dorm rooms! There are homework assignments to finish, tests to study for, and social lives to maintain. Sporadic - approved - visits can be nice, but surprises are simply disruptive and ultimately stressful for everyone.

DON’T Take Over My Room At Home: You may think it’s funny when you joke about turning your kid’s room into a gym or a movie theater, but your kid probably isn’t laughing. He or she is going to college - which is not the same as moving out. Winter break is nearly a month long at most schools, and most students don’t want to have to crash in the guest bedroom and feel like an imposter in their own homes. Even swapping rooms with younger siblings vying for a bigger room is strictly unacceptable.

DON’T Make Vacation Plans For Thanksgiving: Yes, a skiing trip or beach vacation would be great! But it would be just as great during winter break - or any other break! Your child’s first Friendsgiving is a quintessential college freshman moment (even if it doesn’t happen at college). It’s the first time all their friends will be together since the summer, and a necessary time to exchange stories. However, be sure to plan all fun vacations for times your child will be home. With one less person to pay for and one less schedule to accommodate, you may think it would be the perfect time to indulge in a whole slew of extravagant vacations. Your children don’t want you to be miserable of course, but having too much fun can definitely send the wrong message.

DON’T Question Me On My Credit Card Bill: This is huge! Your kids are happy and thankful that you are footing their bills for the time being (and not in a “you’re nothing but an ATM now that I’ve moved out” way), but they can’t possibly be expected to defend every purchase. Can anyone really be independent if they can’t order from Shake Shack five times in one week? Buy hundreds of ping pong balls? Spend $500 on headshots for rush?

Add a comment

LevysAshley, Alex and Ava Mae LevyJanet and Alan Levy of Scarsdale are proud to announce the birth of their granddaughter, Ava Mae Levy, born September 1, 2018 at Greenwich Hospital. Ava, who weighed 8 lbs. 6 oz. at birth, is the daughter of Alexander Levy (SHS’2004) and Ashley Levy. The couple now reside in Larchmont. Congratulations to the Levy family and welcome Ava.
Ava MaeAva Mae Levy

Add a comment

swimers1Charles Lemerond, James Cosgrove, Kieran Lee and Michael DunnScarsdale swimmers excelled at the 93rd annual swim championships, aka “the counties” this week.

On July 31 Kieran Lee age 10 from Edgewood and Charles Lemerond, age 8 from Heathcote, swam in the boys 10u 200 yard relay and finished third. They swim for Wykagyl Country Club.

The boys repeated their performance on August 1, when they placed third in the boys 10u 200 yard freestyle relay.

The Wykagyl team includes the following Scarsdale swimmers:

Aidan, Kieran, Meghan and Brendan Lee
The Carroll family
The DiSanto family

swimmers2Front: Juliette Garofolo Claire Corcoran, Kieran Lee ,Michael Dunn, Dan Needham, Brian Kelly

Back James Cosgrove, Charles Lemerond

Add a comment
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop