As a father, you've spent a large portion of your life dedicated towards helping your son grow up into a confident and responsible young man. You were there when he took his first steps, you attended his every little league game, you helped him with his math homework and you developed a strong father-son bond all the while. Now all those years of teaching and encouragement have led you to this point – your son's high school graduation.
The prospect of your son leaving home for college can be a simultaneously proud and anxious moment. On the one hand, you've been working towards this moment from the day he was born. On the other hand, you've secretly dreaded the idea of your son heading out on his own as a young adult. If you're having mixed feelings, try talking with some friends or family members who have already been through the same situation. They can offer advice and friendly guidance about how to cope with your feelings and maintain a strong parental connection even over hundreds of miles.
This isn't only a difficult time for you – your son is likely feeling hot and cold about his impending college career as well. During the summer after graduation, make sure you sit down and have a talk about the challenges and opportunities he'll face in the next four years. You'll need to teach him valuable skills about living as an independent adult – balancing a check book, keeping a tight academic schedule, making new friends and exploring programs and organizations that will help him find his first job after graduation. In addition to these practical skills, make sure you discuss the hazards of drinking, drugs, getting too little sleep and falling behind in his studies, which can hinder a successful college career.
Remember that just because college has begun doesn't mean your role as a parent has ended. Your son still has a lot of growing up to do during and after college, and he'll need your guidance and support along the way.