Triggers: Separation

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I’m up early again to write a post about triggers, specifically college, one my family is currently affected by. I addressCB060438 triggers as they relate to parenting children who have been adopted in-depth in my new terrific new e-guide, What To Expect From Your Adopted Child.

My oldest is heading off to college today and it is a huge event for all of us. Although being accepted into and going away to college are typically viewed as an accomplishment (and we do view this as such and are very proud of him), within our family it is also considered separation and therefore a trigger. Yes, we are all feeling quite a bit…

My son (the child heading to college) has vacillated between excitement and, recently, scatteredness. His room took on the appearance of an explosion over a week ago. Despite my request that he be packed by Sunday evening, he was not even close until late last night, finding the help of friends a balm. That is one way in which he is dealing with impending separation at this time. I did not pack him, well, because it has been emotional for me. Instead, I helped him by shopping for dorm room supplies and college and class items. Those purchases have been laundered, labeled, organized, and ready to accompany him for weeks.

Due to the configuration of our family and home, the girls have always shared a room. The boys have not. My oldest daughter and son decided she would take his room over when he left for college. This change didn’t seem like such a big deal, until recently. The room change compounds what we are all feeling about him leaving because he is literally breaking down his room. It will cease to exist—his smell, energy and loud music gone.

My son’s leaving creates a void within all of us, and a visitation to that ambiguous well of loss that resides within my younger three. College requires separation and calls forth the inherent issues of loss and rejection. Before and during this enormous family change we have discussed about how our son is leaving, how sad we will be even though we are proud. We have talked about staying connected. Indeed the kids tried out Skype on their computers as soon as they had it loaded, even though they were sitting in the upstairs hallway together. They have taken it upon themselves to snap many pictures of themselves in groupings and add to their photo files and screen savers. All without my input or encouragement

My kids will head out for their last breakfast this morning and then we will pack the trailer and ourselves for this new chapter. Our strength and comfort is each other. We will make this journey together. That’s what families do.

Parents: If you have knowledge before and, how do you address a trigger with your kids? What has helped you cope with triggers?

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