“Helping you gain control over the things you want to change”
Children off to University? What you need to know to stay happy.
Posted on 05 July 2019
I’ve been away for a couple of weeks and am now looking at my diary for the next period as I start seeing clients at my hypnotherapy practice in Harley Street. It’s no surprise to see a number of anxious parents wanting to see me. It is that time of year as another generation gets ready to go away to university and away from home for the first time.
This is a very exciting time, a time of great change. Change can be fun, but it can also bring mixed emotions.
For parents, as well as the natural worry about their offspring flying the nest, it marks a definite life change. This can raise feelings about ageing and the world moving on. It can be a time of reflection as a particular period of child-rearing draws to a close and anxieties about changing relationships in the rest of the family can come to the fore. It is a big life event and such events have power, for good and for bad.
When this time comes, we often put a magnifying glass onto our most intimate relationships and the emotions within them. This can emphasise our own insecurities and even regrets.
Can hypnotherapy help anxious parents?
Often the first thing I say to a client who comes to see me with issues around their children flying the nest is . . . stop a while, take space for yourself, do not create pressure which does not need to be there, the world will go on.
Sometimes keeping control of your own life and its future direction means letting go of the emotions which are immediately around you and this can be one of those times.
This is a big life event and our big life events are powerful. The first thing you need to do is to make the emotional space to let these important events exercise their power. Big events need to breathe in order that they can take its proper place in your life and the life of your whole family and wider social circle.
Expect some uncomfortable feelings. But welcome the new world which is opening up before you.
It is a very busy time, and you will be worried about practicalities. That is natural and good, you are just being a parent. But do not let the renting of a new flat or the buying of kitchen equipment take up all the space. This is a chance for you to both reflect and bond and begin to lay the basis for a different type for relationship, an adult to adult relationship which will grow and change for the rest of your lives.
But be gentle. Your nearly adult child may have a head too full of their new excitements to listen to your carefully crafted words of wisdom. Say what they can take in at any time and save the rest. It will come forward when the time is right.
I hope this is good general advice. But some of the clients I see find this period of change unbearable. If you suspect you may be in this category then you may need professional help from someone like me.
Children leaving: when you need professional help
Any big change in life can bring out underlying problems and forgotten hurts. If you are not coping, then it may be that there are underlying issues which you need to address. Unhelpful and painful feelings include:
• Anxiety at being separated from your child
• Fear of what might happen to them
• Guilt that you have not done enough to bring them up well
• Worry about what life holds for you now
• Anxiety that the change will destabilise other relationships in your life, especially that with your partner.
Mental maps of reality
Often these concerns are linked with your own personal way of seeing the world, with your belief system. We all have our own mental map, how we interpret everything around us. This is built up and evolved throughout our lives starting in childhood. For most of us a lot of what is on our mental map is taken from the values and beliefs passed on to us from our own parents. If your mental map includes a lot of self-blame, or worries that you are not good enough or worthy of being loved, then any period of change can be difficult.
Cognitive hypnotherapy and new techniques
But just as we make our own mental maps, so we can change them.
This is difficult to do without professional help. An experienced and skilful cognitive hypnotherapist, who deals with anxiety, can provide this. They will help you target which beliefs are causing the problems and then work with you to replace them with something more useful. In my cognitive hypnotherapy for anxiety clinics I use a variety of techniques to do this. The good news is that most work quickly. Forget the old image of being in therapy for the rest of your life. With most problems. I can get you on the right track within a few sessions.
If you are struggling at this time please come to see me. We stand a good chance of getting you in a better place before the new term starts!