Dear Harlan: My daughter is very shy and headed to college in the fall. My husband and I are worried she will stay in her room all the time and never get involved. She is going to school where she knows very few people. We wanted her to stay closer to home, but she insisted on going to a small liberal arts school out East. She seems comfortable with her decision. What can we do to support her? I hate that she will be so far away from us.
— Concerned Mom
Dear Concerned Mom: Is your daughter worried about meeting new people? Has she expressed concern that she will be alone in her room? If not, change your story or you will start to shake her confidence. Focus on what’s really upsetting you. You are sad because you’re going to miss her. You won’t see her as much. You won’t know what’s happening in her life. You can’t walk in her room or see her face when she comes home from school. There isn’t a goodnight hug or a morning routine. If you want to encourage her to meet people, make her get a job on campus. If you want her to have emotional support, make sure she has a therapist. If you want to know what’s happening in her life, discuss how and when you’ll communicate once she’s at college. Let her express how and when she wants to communicate, and go from there. Unless she has a history that would give you reason to worry, shift your focus. If she isn’t worried, don’t create problems that don’t exist. She might be ready for what’s next. The question is … are you?