Adulting 101: Is Your Teen Ready to Launch?

by Jenifer Truitt, Executive Director Ziglar Family

It’s here… the day I’ve been counting down to with equal parts anticipation and dread for at least a year:ย  we move my oldest daughter in to her college dorm this week. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

To say I’m emotional may be an understatement โ€” I actually teared up at the grocery store last weekend when I picked up the milk and noticed the expiration date was after she’ll be gone!ย  ๐Ÿ˜ญ

It’s not that I’m sad; I would say it’s just a big ol’ mixed bag of everything from nostalgia, to anxiety, to excitement, to anticipation… and everything in between.

For the past year I’ve been reading bits and pieces of a great book called The Launching Years:ย  Strategies for Parenting from Senior Year to College Life by Laura Kastner, Ph.D. and Jennifer Wyatt, Ph.D..ย  I really appreciate the fact that these two doctors have taken the time to share some strategies and tips for parents who are navigating this unfamiliar territory for the first time.

Kastner and Wyatt acknowledge that this launching represents a major life transition, and that parents will go through the typical phases ofย  that sense of loss, followed by a time of confusion and uncertainty, which eventually is succeeded by a sense of a new beginning.

With launching, some parents feel aimless and fragile, while others become frustrated and impatient. If for years and years your mindset has been on parenting, it’s nearly impossible to redistribute those energies overnight…

Although not a hard-and-fast gender distinction, moms seem to spend more time reflecting and emoting prior to launching about “when the kids go” than dads do, perhaps because many moms โ€” usually in the role of primary domestic manager โ€” experience child-rearing on a more immediate level.

Because some dads haven’t done the mental work that moms have been doing all along โ€” the brooding and bracing themselves for how much they’re going to miss their child โ€” fathers are sometimes hit like a ton of bricks by the fallow time, caught up short by the heaviness of their hearts.

Yep… we’re already taking bets as to whether it will be Dad or Mom who loses it first as we say our good-byes. ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธย ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

In addition to the emotions around missing our oldest child when she’s not home every day, I’m also dealing with my concern about whether I’ve adequately prepared her to manage her day-to-day life in the ‘real world.’

I’ve certainly done my best to make sure she’s used every opportunity to learn and grow from any challenges life’s thrown at her so far, but at the same time I’ve been a safety net, close-by and ready to step in if things got a little too dicey. Now, with her living 4 hours away, that safety net is going to be a little harder to activate.

This past January, I started writing a booklet for her entitled Adulting 101.ย  Every day, I’d spend anywhere from 15 minutes to a half-hour writing down some random advice and instruction around topics she might encounter after she leaves home.ย  These included:

  • Tips for living with a roommate for the first time
  • Managing your sudden newfound ‘freedom’
  • Maintaining your health
  • Renting your first apartment
  • Budgeting
  • And random other topics as they occurred to me

I invited my network on Facebook to share their best advice for a launching teen, and added those snippets of wisdom to the end of the booklet.

All in all, it turned out pretty well, and I ended up printing out several copies so that I could give one to each of her friends as a small graduation gift… and I know at least a few of them actually read it!

So today, if you are in the same place as I am, launching or soon-to-be launching your first child, and you’d like to have a copy of this booklet to give your teen, I’d be happy to share it with you.ย  Just email me ( and let me know you want one, and I’ll send it right away. (I’ll email you the PDF – you can either print it out or just give it to your teen in e-form.)

If you’re a more seasoned parent, and you’ve already survived the first launch, or even multiple launches, and you can share some comforting words of advice, or even wisdom about ‘what life is like after the launch’ – please do!ย  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!ย 

(And yes, knowing that the next time I’ll write a blog post is after she’s already gone is choking me up! ๐Ÿ˜ข)





  1. B Davis August 4, 2018 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    Fours years ago My wife and I took our children to their new school, new language, new country, they were aged 12 and 14! The travel time by plane was about 17 hours plus stop overs, due to the nature of our jobs and the wonderful opportunity of a school place we all knew , individually and together, it was the right thing to do.
    They have both grown up very fast and our first child is about to go to university, he has planned the who thing and just basically shared the logistics with us!
    The empty nest was very difficult so early but we worked through it all and feel a little more energized and youthful in older age as a result, reduced food bill is the first thing that we noticed!! Leisure time was next!

    We are now at the stage that we plan for all the major holiday times to try and spend them together if possible.

    • Jen August 4, 2018 at 8:25 pm - Reply

      Thanks for sharing that story! And yes, I am definitely anticipating a lower food bill! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Melissa August 4, 2018 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    Iโ€™d love your adukting 101 ebook. Thank you!
    I can so relate to what youโ€™ve been going through.

  3. Pam Hadley August 4, 2018 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    I’d love to get this information from you. My daughter just graduated. Thanks!!

  4. Christina August 4, 2018 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    I would like this for my teens as well.

  5. Jean August 4, 2018 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    I’d love to have this information to share with my music students who have just graduated and are leaving for college this week or next. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Lauri August 4, 2018 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    I so appreciate your words. I have been struggling too. My middle child is going off to college, my youngest is entering high school, which means I am retiring after 16 years of homeschooling. My eldest wants to move to Europe. To say I feel emotional and a bit lost and alone would be an understatement. It all happened too fast. I think I need that book lol!

    • Jen August 6, 2018 at 12:36 pm - Reply

      Oh my gosh, Lauri! My youngest (16) wants to move to Europe, too, for college! I don’t even know where to start with that or if I am capable of letting her go that far away. I know what you mean about feeling a bit ‘lost’ when our role changes so abruptly. Prayers for you! (And sending the eBooklet!)

  7. RAJENDRA M NAIK Naik August 5, 2018 at 11:54 pm - Reply




  8. Debbie Noechel-Roupe August 7, 2018 at 10:40 am - Reply

    I am very touched when I read about your daily messages about random things each day. As parents we always want the best and try to protect them during this growing up period. I feel certain that as she goes through each and every aspect of college she will find herself reading and realizing her mom knows what she is going through. What a comfort that will be for her.

    • Jen August 7, 2018 at 11:08 am - Reply

      Thanks, Debbie, for your kind words! I certainly pray that will be the case!

  9. Joy August 8, 2018 at 6:30 am - Reply

    I pray she settles in well.i I’ll need the booklet too,please.

  10. Londa August 14, 2018 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    I’m there too! I’d love to have the information too! It is such a good idea! Thanks for sharing it!

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