Empty Nest Success Evangelist specializing in coaching mothers entering the empty nest. ★ Master Motivator ★ Podcast Host ★ Together we'll channel your freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy! ~ Christine, Your Empty Nest Coach
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast with Coach Christine, “What to do When Your Child is Struggling. …
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast with Coach Christine, “What to do When Your Child is Struggling. I work with mothers of high school students and beyond, who are in the trenches with sad and possibly, overwhelming thoughts about what their life will look like when their baby heads to college and begins to leave the nest. My clients’ big question is what will I do with my time? Is this you? I’ve been there, and I get it. Empowering you to write the next jaw-dropping, amazing chapter in your life is my passion. I am energized by leading you in the process of exploration and am thrilled when you unlock the power that lies within you. This podcast is my gift to you.
Hello, CEO of Your Life! Are you there yet? Are you the Conscious Effective Olympian of your life? I am so excited for all that is in store for you! Before we get started, please remember that you may leave me audio feedback at any time through my SpeakPipe link. If you find yourself talking back to me during the episode, why don’t you really share your thoughts with me? You’ll find the link to do this in the description of this episode: on Apple Podcasts, you’d click “Details”; on Spotify, click “See More”; and on Overcast press the I for information button. Get the idea? Of course I always have full show notes with links to anything I discuss in this episode, and a full episode transcription on my website (YourEmptyNestCoach.com/P81). I can’t wait to hear from you.
Thanks! Thank you! It’s time to thank our sponsor. This episode is sponsored by my membership community, The GPS Support Flock; Your Flight to Success in the Empty Nest. If you are ready to find the GPS of your life, sign up to receive an immediate and free download of my PDF, “How to Find Yourself in the Empty Nest,” our GPS Life Principles document. You will also have the opportunity to learn about our community. See the link in this episode’s show notes or fly on over to my website, YourEmptyNestCoach.com. Click the GPS Support Flock button. See you soon!
Oh, my friend isn’t it the worst when your child is struggling? It is. I’m not going to pretend that it isn’t. Someone else’s kid is struggling? I suggest saying, “That sucks.” At least that has become my go-to response now. Most people don’t want to be coached at that moment in time, so I do my best to empathize and listen. At least that is what I aspire to do. Forgive me if I’ve not done that with you. As for your child, look, you don’t have to pretend life is perfect when you know your child is having a hard time but you do need to be super diligent in watching the work of your protector during this time.
Assuming you have been in Training mode, simmering along, your
Protector is going to want to jump right back into bossing you around, to find the worst outcomes that might happen to your child, to shove that dimmer switch all the way down to the bottom and cause you to go back into Obscurity mode. Your Protector thinks they can control the outcome, so the thought deliveries they send along inside your fence and house will be all that you see, thinking that you focusing on those thought deliveries will impact everything. It won’t. It will only impact how you show up for yourself, and for your child.
So, the first thing I have to say is recognize that it sucks. Recognize that you’re also going to have to power-up the training of your Protector while you watch your child struggle. It is a lousy place to be, but slide that dimmer switch up and keep your Protector in mega-training mode because when you begin to get lazy, they’ll take back over in a heartbeat. That isn’t the mode your child needs to see you in while they are struggling.
What does your child need? They need to know you love them and are there for them. They need to know that you will listen to them. They need you to be the best version of yourself that is possible for you. You can’t be that, while you’re living in Obscurity mode. You are going to serve your child best when you are considering all of your own thought deliveries as optional. Notice them. Be curious about them. See if they serve you. Ask yourself if they are true. Pay attention to what sensations they are causing in your body. Ask yourself if the thought is helpful in any way, at this moment in time.
If the thought delivery serves no purpose, or drives you to sensations that create the inability to listen, then you need to thank your Protector for their concern, and usher those thought deliveries back out the door. This is not easy work, my friend. I know. Remember, your thought deliveries about your child’s situation won’t change their outcomes. They will only bring you negative sensations and might damage your relationship in the meantime. Train your Protector to help you identify moments where you can do something helpful and do it. Otherwise, let those thought-deliveries go. Truly. The wrong thought deliveries accepted over and over, and over have the potential to create or strengthen a crack that is in a relationship.
Painful, right? Is it worth it? Is it worth it to react without considering that your reaction brings no value to you, to your child, and to the world? What is your end goal? Is it to tell them you told them so? How do you show up with that thought? Is it to handle it for them in a way that isn’t beneficial to their growth? Is it to solve it as fast as possible because, you know, after all, you are busy? How does that thought feel and do you think for a second that sensation you have isn’t felt by your child? Consider those thought deliveries. Consider your goal, and as you come to these realizations, please be kind to yourself.
Yes, it is work to continuously train your Protector to handle this situation well. As I always say, it is worth it. You are worth it and your child is worth it. The good news is that you are presented with a huge opportunity to level-up here. Life isn’t going to be free of sucky things because you are in Training mode. Nope. It doesn’t work that way, sorry!
You might have the opportunity to set an amazing example for your child on how to handle their own emotional health going forward. Can you imagine that impact? How about trying that thought delivery on for size? I don’t know about you, but that one gives me some lovely sensations, and my dimmer switch moves up more than a little bit.
The questions I have for you in this episode are, what is your go-to response when your child is struggling? And, who do you want to show up as, when your child is struggling? I invite you to share your answers to these questions for inclusion on an upcoming episode by using my Speakpipe link which you will find in the episode description mentioned earlier. Or Fly on over to our Facebook Group to share your answers to these questions with our amazing flock. Our Facebook Group name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17. Or head to my website, YourEmptyNestCoach.com/community for links to join our flock. We look forward to seeing you there!
Thanks! Thank you! A huge shout out to every member of my GPS Support Flock. I invite you to fly on over to my website, or see my show notes, for a link to learn how you may become a GPS Support Flock member, where you will gain access to all of my programs, monthly workshops, group coaching, and more. See you there!
If you enjoyed this episode, I invite you to take a moment to subscribe to this podcast. Go ahead, do it right now! It’s free! As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. Okay, empty nest CEO of Your Life, are you remembering every day that you are amazing? Well, you are!
Last week, April Force Pardoe shared tips on how to prepare your home for the empty nest. This week, I thought I would share some thoughts I have about your child’s room: how to adapt it as they head off to and attend college. Enjoy!
Take a listen or read the full transcript below.
⇓⇓⇓ More goodies below, too! Scroll all the way down ⇓ so you don’t miss anything! ⇓⇓⇓
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Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 34: Your Home on College Breaks: Prepping Your Child’s Room. … Today’s episode is one that feels like a good follow up to our last episode, with April Force Pardoe. If you missed that, she joined me to chat about preparing your home for the empty nest. Originally, I was going to make this two episodes, but decided to combine it into one. Today, we talk about your child’s space in your home, and boundaries on that space. If your child is heading off to college and they’ve had their own space in the house, before they head off to college is a good time to discuss their space in your home moving forward.
00:00:00 Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 34: Your Home on College Breaks: Prepping Your Child’s Room. This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
Hello, my future empty nest friend. Before I get started I have a request. My team and I are planning on taking some time off over the holiday season, and rather than going completely silent for that time, we thought we would share listener favorite episodes or snippets. That means that we are looking for your submissions for one of two things, something you learned from the podcast that has helped you, or your favorite episode. For both of these, explain what they mean to you, and tell us what episode number it is from. You may email your recorded submission with your phone audio recorder, or type it out. Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you, and thanks for your assistance.
00:01:26 And, as always, a quick reminder that all of my episodes are brought to you by my free seven-day program, the “Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering My Future.” And, to be clear, we are talking about your future, not mine. Hop on over to my website, youremptynestcoach.com, and sign up today. Look for the link that says “Uncover Your Future.”
00:01:48 Today’s episode is one that feels like a good follow up to our last episode, with April Force Pardoe. If you missed that, she joined me to chat about preparing your home for the empty nest. Originally, I was going to make this two episodes, but decided to combine it into one. Today, we talk about your child’s space in your home, and boundaries on that space. If your child is heading off to college and they’ve had their own space in the house, before they head off to college is a good time to discuss their space in your home moving forward.
00:02:20 In this episode, I have in mind a family where the child has had their own room that has accumulated items over the last 17 or 18 years. Maybe items of theirs are scattered throughout the house, too. Now, your child is heading off to live on campus for multiple years. Yes, they’ll be home on breaks, but it will be different. They may or may not want to come back to room filled with their stuff animals and collectible “Star Wars” figures. Note, I did say may or may not.
00:02:47 Let’s assume also for this example, this child is heading off to a four-year college, that they will be living on campus, and will be home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring break maybe, and summer for at least two years. Two years? What, Christine? Yes. I know. Look, four years of college means three summers in between. It is quite possible that between their junior and senior year, they may receive an amazing summer internship that doesn’t bring them home for summer in the way that you had imagined. Not to scare you here, but I’m a firm believer in knowing the truth helps process things early. If you plan for that possibility out of the gate, when your child receives said wonderful internship, they won’t have to worry about telling mom and dad, and how they will react, because you have already discussed the possibility.
00:03:40 This transition isn’t easy. Is it? We think we have four years to adjust to all of this, and you might. But with short breaks and them building their life, it becomes evident quickly if your child will be the one out and about that third summer. Great! Now that I’ve sufficiently freaked you out, and I say that jokingly, because as a regular listener of my podcast, you know that this is where you stop and check your thoughts about what I just said. Do you like your thoughts? If not, maybe pause this episode, and do some work there. See episode number 3, and then come back to this. I certainly don’t want to lose you as a listener, but it’s more important to me that you are in the right head space for this project. Are you still with me? Great!
00:04:25 The great news is that you don’t need to spend much money to make simple changes and figure out a few things now. Think about this. If you went through the equivalent of two to three boxes worth of your child’s belongings, over only two years, you will already have a pretty good idea of any remaining items that need to be gone through, if anything at all. It could just be a matter of moving the boxes in a car, and you are done, and they will have helped you with it. Can you imagine? Your child gets their first apartment, you have everything ready, and can purely focus on your own emotional health, theirs, and helping however that is possible for you. Doesn’t that sound nice? Because the opposite could be, your child’s moving, they can’t make it home before they get to their apartment, so you get to go through their belongings that have been left at home. Or, you never do, and they sit in your house year after year, after year. When you move, guess who is dealing with it? You probably won’t have either extreme, but on a sliding scale, what end would you like to be closer to? It’s something worth thinking about right now. While this might not be super easy for either of you to think about, it can be a bonding memorable experience.
00:05:41 Here are my suggestions: one, talk about what they might want their room to look like when they’re home next summer. Two, pack up some boxes ahead of time. For our first item, talk about what they might want their room to look like when they return for the summer. So, take some time, maybe in a coffee shop, or somewhere outside of the home, to tell your almost-adult that you would like to make the transition over the next four years as easy as possible for all of you. Is there something they currently love, that must stay? Is there something that they secretly hated all these years, and could do without? Are there items that they like, but they would rather have them organized in some fashion to move on in their life? Is there something they would love to have in their room?
00:06:28 For this first part, you need to be willing to hear tough things. If your child can’t stand something that you gave them when they were eight years old, and they know that you love that item, or picture, so they would never think to remove it. You need to realize that your thoughts about that item don’t need to be your child’s thoughts about that item. What would be interesting is to ask them why they don’t like it. Their story about it is a bonding experience, and it’s one that might have you laughing your head off. You never know. Heck, you now have a new story about that item, and you can figure out what you would like to do with it together. Maybe them knowing why you like it so much, and vice versa, might give them a new appreciation of it. If they say I don’t want it, maybe you will want to keep the item. But if you don’t, it’s okay. Your child’s love for you is not in an item in their room. They are figuring out who they are in the future, just like we are doing in our new phase of life. Who we are in this moment, doesn’t mean, hopefully, that we’ll be the same person five years from now.
00:07:29 As the minimalists recommend, you can always take a picture of the item to keep the memory, and then, let it go. I would talk about the room a few different times with your child. See if there are consistencies that come up, and then, when you are packing for college, you have another opportunity to go through everything. Maybe they would love to paint the room a different color, or go thrift shopping for a new shelving unit, or hang pictures of their college friends, who they have yet to meet. See what they are thinking, and then you can plan out some activities to do when they arrive back home over their breaks to help things get settled, and it’s a fun bonding experience.
00:08:08 Which brings us to the second part. Pack up some boxes ahead of time. These are not the going-to-college boxes. These are the I-want-for-my-future-me boxes. I recommend that you not allow your child to leave the room in disarray. Remind them that they have to come back to the room. Create boxes or areas of the room to place different items, such as one section for let it go items, these are outgrown items, things your child doesn’t want or doesn’t need anymore. The second area, pack away items. These are items to save for your child’s future self. Use the college packing time as a time to pack up those future-me boxes for your child, and be sure to label them well. Better yet, for anything that is memorabilia, it might be worth it, if it is in your budget to pick up some plastic bins. Well-labeled plastic bins are helpful, as your child might want to peek in from time to time. This way, they don’t have to destroy a box to do so.
00:09:09 If you try any or all of this, please let me know what works, what doesn’t work for you, and if you have recommendations for other listeners. Before I go, let’s talk quickly about boundaries about your space. Have the discussion with your child about how their room will be used while they are gone, if it will be used at all. If they have items all over the house, make it clear to them, if this is the case, that if they leave it out and a sibling uses it, it is fair game. Whatever the rules are, try to use some future thinking here and play out some scenarios, and decide what you want to set ahead of time. It is also a great time to set boundaries on when they return. How you expect them to behave. Will you be fine with them coming in and reverting to 16-year-old version of them, where you fed them, did their laundry, or will you have different expectations of them? There is no right answer here, and you might not know until the first week they return home. Maybe really the biggest and most important thing here, is to have a discussion about how things will be different. That you aren’t sure how exactly, but that you all need to be open to the change, and work through it when it comes. That you know you’ll have different expectations of them when they return home. Maybe it’s laundry, maybe it is curfew. Whatever it is for your family, and that they need to be prepared for that. It is another place for everyone to sit in the simmer and figure out what works for them.
00:10:35 Guess what? I have an entire episode on sitting in the simmer, too. Check out episode number 29. That’s what I have for you today, my empty nest friend. Please don’t hesitate to fly on over to our Facebook group. Our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website, youremptynestcoach.com/community for links to join our flock. Why should you join our group? The adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full-time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there.
If you are ready to begin the journey to find future you, and use her as your GPS, definitely sign up for my free program, “The Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering My Future.” Episode 13 covers the high-level concepts of that program, if you would like to check it out. To dive deep into the concepts, take my free program, as I provide videos and worksheets to assist you on your journey.
The questions I have for you in this episode are: if your child is heading off to college, or in college, what is the condition of their space in your home? And, number two, do you have long term plans for that space that your child may not be aware of? As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. You’ll find the show notes for this and every episode on my website. My next episode’s title is “Leveling Up.”
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You are preparing for the empty nest ahead as your child(ren) prepares, heads off to, and experiences college.
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