By Julia Stallard
Many of us work hard to give our children the best opportunities in life. It’s a juggling game, trying to support them financially but ensure they do not grow up spoiled, support them with schoolwork and extra-curricular activities but encourage them to be motivated and independent young people. Then suddenly, school’s over and it’s time for college or sixth-form. Then comes the hoped-for and yet dreaded “leaving to go to uni”, or when that’s over, leaving home permanently, maybe even to live in another country or continent. We’ve had all 3 happen in our extended family this summer, with one off to sixth form, another headed to the south coast for uni and a third now working on a two-year visa in Canada.
One thing that’s been learnt is that the build up to all these events has been far more stressful than the event itself! The rising sense of panic that we’ve quelled all summer has been no less than when they took their first steps at nursery or primary school: “will they be ok?”, “will they make friends?”, “will they be calling me in tears?”. Needless to say none of these things have happened, proven completely now that all have started on these new chapters in their life.
Thanks to social media, we are more in touch than ever and they are sharing images of their team-building day at a local outdoor pursuits centre, their freshers’ week antics and their weekends on the lake. And us? Well we’re starting to relax into our new chapters, enjoying an impromptu date night on a Friday instead of dashing home to cook, a seat in the sun with a book at the weekend instead of ferrying them on shopping expeditions, a movie and a glass of wine in the evening rather than abstaining as they need picking up from parties. When they started school, it was the simple joy of drinking a cup of coffee while it was hot, or managing a shower without interruption. Now we’re starting to remember who we were and what we used to enjoy doing before they came along. Their life begins and ours picks up where it left off on that wonderful, incredible rollercoaster ride called parenthood.
Reflecting over the past 3 months I can see how important it is to have support during these “transition periods”. As a coach I know it’s not unusual for a major life transition period, such as children leaving home, to clash with a change at work leaving individuals feeling overwhelmed by a sense of uncertainty about the future and indeed about their own identity.
Coaching can be an ideal means of support at such a time. It is a positive way of working, it is future focused and most importantly enables and empowers individuals to identity the best course of action for them and to follow through.
In every transition there can be renewed purpose and focus, and a realisation that whilst one chapter of life is ending a whole new exciting phase is beginning.
What a priviledge it is to be coaching someone for the next big stage of their life.