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My son is going far away and I'm struggling

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31.07.2019

Recently, I read about the Dutch practice of "dropping", in which a group of kids are deposited in the woods at night and are required to find their way back to base camp.

While some non-European parents find the ritual disturbing, I found it laughably tame. What do the Dutch know about letting their kids go? I’m about to send my son off overseas for five months, alone! Five months!

When an adult child goes overseas, how much anxiety is normal for a parent?Credit:Shutterstock

To be fair to the Dutch, my son is 20 years old, not 11, and he’s off to do an exchange semester at university, not trek through a pitch-black forest. What’s more, he is off to New York, not Syria or South Korea or Iraq, so he’ll be pretty much as safe as he is here at home.

And, of course, this is 2019. My son has access to a mobile phone, messaging apps, and social media. I won’t be sitting at home waiting for a weekly letter, like my parents did when I was away back in the '80s.

But........

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