My 17-year-old first born will be going to university next year and I can’t help but wonder how she is going to cope, or more like how I am going to?
What will she eat? How fast will she be driving? Will she wear enough warm clothes in winter?
And perhaps, just as I get used to the situation, my other one will be flying the nest.
Then there will be two to worry about!
As parents, we worry about their relationships, financial well-being and physical health.
And today, as a parent myself, I can only imagine what my parents go through on a daily basis with me living abroad.
I mean, it is never-ending – even in adulthood my parents worry about my brother and I.
Amber Seidel of Pennsylvania State University recently conducted a study concerning the parents of adult children.
She found that parents still lose sleep worrying about their children even into adulthood.
The study tracked 186 families to make this discovery, using a scale of one to eight to determine the rate of support a parent believes they offer their adult children.
One was for daily interaction and support, while eight represents support offered once per year.
Support was defined broadly to include financial assistance, emotional support and daily chat.
A scale of one through five was used for stress, with five representing the most stress and one for no stress at all.
Each parent was then measured for hours of sleep.
Mums slept for 6.66 hours per night, while dads got just a little more with 6.69 hours. The survey and measurements were then compared.
The fathers reported a loss of sleep when they put in the effort to support their adult child.
The dads’ sleep was not affected when the mum physically performed the support.
Meanwhile, the mothers lost sleep when either the dad or the mum performed the supporting tasks.
It seems like the act of supporting the adult children physically exhausted the fathers.
The men were physically drained when they had to support the adult children financially or emotionally.
They even found chatting on a regular basis about mundane daily activities to be exhausting.
However, the mothers were exhausted with worry. They worried about their adult children even if the father was the one providing the support.
Mothers showed equal ill effects for performing the support and worrying about the support done by dad.
Seidel requests parents to trust their children enough to let them live their own unique life.
She says parents should only provide support if adult children sought advice or found themselves in a troubled situation.
This, apparently, would lessen the burden on the parent.
I can only speak from experience, but please accept my apology mum and dad. I know exactly how you feel, and it isn’t easy!
Reem Antoon is a former GDN news editor. She can be reached on: firstname.lastname@example.org