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For parents, the months before your high school graduate leaves home for their college move-in may be filled with every emotion, from pride and excitement to worry and confusion about your child's changing moods.
While you may want to spend as much time as possible with your soon-to-be college student before he or she leaves, your child may be putting as much space between the two of you as possible, spending fewer hours at home and behaving badly when there.
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Like the guides to the ages and stages of baby and toddler behavior, written about in bestsellers What to Expect When You're Expecting and What to Expect: The Toddler Years, an emerging adult's pre-college conduct also can be predictable, experts say.
These behaviors are among the ones you can expect from your young adult in the months before college.
Increased anxiety or stress
As young adults prepare for the transition, it's normal for them to show signs of stress or anxiety, says Stephanie Pinder-Amaker.
"There's a lot of uncertainty as children are preparing to move from the structure and support that they know at home to many things that are unknown,” says Pinder-Amaker, director of the College Mental Health Program at Harvard's McLean Hospital. How your child historically responds to stress is normal; it's the unusual responses to stress you should look out for, she says.
Nerves can fray when young adults face separation, says Amanda Fludd, a licensed clinical social worker and executive director of Kensho Psychotherapy Services in New York. As they go from a supportive home environment to navigating academic and social pressures firsthand, Fludd says, young adults can worry about letting their families down or fear not meeting expectations.