Resource for Parenting

Susan Borison and Stephanie Silverman, best friends and co-founders of Your Teen Media, are bringing their magazine to life. From interviews with the experts and authors to discussions of trending topics and personal stories, Your Teen with Sue and Steph is an essential guide to raising teens today.

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Spotify Listen on Pandora

Never Done: Our Job as Parents Doesn't End When They Leave Home

Finally, your kid is off to college. Your time parenting is done... right? Lisa Heffernan of Grown and Flown joins Sue and Steph to talk about just how false that idea is, and how to best parent those who have only technically left the nest.

Click the Amazon button above to check our her new book!

Sue: Welcome to Your Teen with Sue and Steph. I’m Sue Borison.

Steph: I’m Stephanie Silverman.

Sue: And today we’re going to be talking about our kids after they graduate high school. Shockingly we were no better prepared for the changes in parenting at that stage than we were at any other stage so we’re going to talk a little bit about what it was like for me and Steph. I had my oldest graduate probably nine years before her oldest graduated and she looked at me…

Steph: From high school. Graduate from high school.

Sue: And Stephanie was watching me with fear because I was so sad and really really struggling with my oldest leaving for college. And this sense that my family was going to be broken. And that sentiment plays out all the time online where there’s the one woman who is weepy and sad and just doesn’t know how to let go. And the other people who are reacting differently with joy that their kid has reached this milestone and they’re so ready for them to go off, with joy not with like shoving them out the door, and both kind of look at each other with this lack of understanding. Would you agree Stephanie?

Steph: I’m looking at you like this. It’s funny how I can see you it’s almost like my face is… If I move my face just enough it’s almost on your face. We could be the same person because there’s a reflection.

Sue: We’re really we’re right on top of each other.

Steph: Exactly.

Sue: Metaphorically speaking.

Steph: Exactly.

Steph: We don’t want listeners getting the wrong idea because that would be really bad. No I would agree with that and I was thinking about when Sue was telling that story about her oldest leaving is that my oldest, like she said was nine years behind that one and then I had my other kids. So my kids are 11, 8, and 6 and I was saying I could barely take a shower without somebody coming in or go to the bathroom and so to try and pick— Well one I didn’t know what was wrong with Sue. I didn’t make the association between Sue’s behavior and her kid leaving for college because it wasn’t even in my head. So I’m watching her thinking someone in the home is dying. They’ve gotten some bad diagnosis, something’s going on that I’m not aware of. I’m watching because I’m so far from that.

Sue: And Stephanie’s right to have felt that way because I was really grieving in advance of her leaving in a way that probably most people do that after a kid leaves but I’m like a griever before it happens. And I also wasn’t self-aware enough at that time. I was afterwards to realize that I probably should have gone for therapy at that point because it was probably weighty for my oldest kid. I mean who wants to feel like you’re causing this to another human being because you’re growing up. It’s so healthy. And my reaction was so unhealthy. But you know we all have a first born.

Steph: I was just going to say I think that’s unfair to say that it’s unhealthy.

Sue: That my reaction was unhealthy for her?

Steph: Well. Oh okay. Yes. Yeah yeah.

Sue: Like it’s not fair to put on a kid.

Steph: Yeah.

Sue: The weight of your grief.

Steph: No totally true. And I think the other thing is and you know me well enough that my reactions are later and they’re not necessarily… Yes I felt like I’ve had two go off to college, and different feelings different kids different feelings. But I definitely—

Sue: Which one did you feel worse about? [Laughter]

Steph: I will not answer that on the air. Redirect. What do you say in the courtroom?

Sue: Disregard the jury, disregard the comments.

Steph: Exactly. No different reactions but I also ,and I’ve had this when they’ve left for camp too, I’m OK with saying goodbye to them and we’ve had a Visitors Day or in the college world they come home for Thanksgiving or a break. I find those departures way harder.

Sue: Yeah. After they become more real to you it’s harder.

Steph: Yes.

Sue: Yeah. And I think people respond better to your way of loss than mine because mine—

Steph: Who’s the people in that sentence?

Sue: Like friends, people around, acquaintances who would say to me, “Hey everything OK?” And I’d be like, “Well my my daughter’s going to college in a year.” It’s just they couldn’t really sympathize. It was like, “Wait so your kid is home for a year? Way to be in the moment.”

Steph: Exactly. Well I wonder how this all fits together it’s very interesting. I was saying the other day that how I think I’m atypical. So I watch people on Facebook, right? So it’s senior year of high school and I’m watching, for one of my kids a year ago, and I’m watching all the friends post things like for… Wait how I? You know I can’t do it. It’s the first of the last. Yeah right. The first of the last. It’s the last first day of school. You know I’m not good like that so I’m always like, “Wait it’s the last first… Wait a minute, this is the last one?” Like you know so it takes me awhile to process and then once I’ve processed it then I’m like, “Oh…” And I’m watching all this I’m thinking, “Who cares!?” I mean that’s really what I’m thinking, seriously. Like I honestly…

Sue: So I would say that’s a little…

Steph: Cold?

Sue: Well it’s just sentimental. Like where we go like, “Oh my God we’re counting down now we have three more weeks with our kid at home.” And so there is a high— My baby graduated from high school and is going to college and I’m better than I was my first born. But it’s still really sad for my husband and I. He’s been—

Steph: I feel like you’ve been sad all summer.

Sue: Well he’s been a good third in our marriage.

Steph: Cause who doesn’t need a good third in their marriage, right?

Sue: And also I mean he is my husband’s best friend. So that’s really sad to think about and he’s my baby so. But he’s gonna be two hours away and he’s super excited about it.

Steph: I bet you can’t wait for all the pop ins. I bet he can hardly wait.

Sue: Well so I just wanted to tell, this is a little bit of a shift, but parenting kids who are out of your house is so different and people have said to us we should do that next magazine like because it’s so challenging. But the only challenge is for the parents because for the kids they see us as done and I did when I was that age. I certainly felt that way. But as a parent I don’t feel that way at all. And so I have coffee with two friends every Friday, we’ve been doing it for years, and we started to notice that we would bring to the conversation things we wanted to say to our kids. And fortunately the other two people would say don’t say it. Then we started bragging. So it was like we come on Friday and we have a moment, it’s like a moment of prayer where we each like salute each other for the things that we wanted to say and didn’t say.

Steph: I love it.

Sue: And it’s been great although if, I mean my kids don’t listen to this so I have to worry about it, but they would not see any restraint on my part if they were to hear.

Steph: I would just thinking that.

Sue: They would be vomiting laughter.

Steph: And even if you didn’t say it, it’s the things they hear. We said that in one of our earlier podcasts where they respond with— I just listened to it. It was our last one.

Sue: Yeah.

Steph: You said something like, “Oh no no I know don’t get food out of the fridge because we’re eating in an hour.” And I’m like, “I didn’t even move my lips.”

Sue: Yeah.

Steph: You know it’s ridiculous but I do want to go back to something. So before I’m written off as cold, callous, and not caring about my children I want to say in my defense I am unusually… Not unusually. I am surprisingly to myself, moved by things that other people are not, that I don’t see them coming. So I think that is all part of that because I react later and I just said this to a friend or my oldest, this is the one we were talking about just graduated from college in the spring, and I don’t like any kind of pomp and circumstance. I don’t like any of that stuff. And the music played and they started walking in and I was like, [inhale]. I have still like even just sitting here telling the story, my breath was taken away.

Sue: You didn’t expect it.

Steph: Yes.

Sue: But also I would say like I think music has a visceral…

Steph: Yes.

Sue: It like assaults me at times where I least expect it and it’s unpredictable. Like show me a video of kids singing.

Steph: Oh done. Done.

Sue: Done. I just start weeping and like you know it can happen in the most random ways about other people’s lives but it often involves music for me.

Steph: I think for me when I am like, I’ll call it stripped to my core. Like the things that are so important to me and all I have to do is look at the person that’s important to me as I’m having the thought. My kids, this is a funny conversation, my kids think I cry all the time.

Sue: Oh that’s funny. But you’re just not crying about them.

Steph: Correct. They think I’m moved. Like they’ll look over at me we’ll be watching a commercial, a movie or something like, “Oh God. Really mom?” It’s funny I’m just putting the pieces together as we’re sitting here.

Sue: I mean this is such a Segway from where we start— Such a distance from where we started. But I do feel like in big moments I retreat from the experience like I’m like up here watching what’s happening. So you know like in a distance it’s hard to feel that same thing when it’s my story. And I’m worried kind of about like if I lose it I may lose it really ugly. So then I’m kind of removed. So I can see that happening but sitting on a bench at graduation where I’m one of thousands and thousands of people and they start playing pomp and circumstance all I see is the future of the world right in front of me and this moment. And it’s like, “Oh God.”

Steph: Oh my god I’m like feeling all welled up sitting here. It’s so weird, so weird. I’m an enigma wrapped in a puzzle.

Sue: Is that what you are? So we’re having this whole conversation about what happens after they graduate high school and we were so surprised by how unprepared we were to parent at that next stage because we’re so good at it now I mean look we’ve got this whole business around raising teenagers of course we’re ready for the next stage. The biggest problem with the next stage is kind of we’re done parenting but really not totally and at the mercy of their interest in our parenting it’s very one sided which is really hard for control freaks. And our next guest Lisa Heffernan who is the co-founder of Grown and Flown. She understood that that was another stage where parents really needed guidance. And we’re excited to have her on our show.

Sue: I have sent five kids to college. It’s insane Five kids to college, 29 years of parenting and now my baby, two weeks ago, left for college. It is a tad devastating. A huge adjustment. But Steph you’ve still got one at home so that means you’re about to enter into the college process all over again for the last time.

Steph: That is correct and I’ve been thinking about how different it’s going to be with a daughter and it presents other exciting opportunities. And one thing I’ve been thinking about is she is at an all girls high school and I’ve seen the benefit of that and our sponsor Agnes Scott College is an all women’s college and I can see what a game changer it is for so many students. What I love about them is that you don’t have to choose between an academic concentration or a liberal arts degree. At Agnes Scott College you get to do both and customize your experience all of which include leadership development in a global society.

Sue: So check out their summit program at to learn more.

Sue: Lisa and her business partner Mary Dell Herrington have a very similar story to me and Steph. We came at our business with no background in media and Lisa was former vice president of Goldman Sachs, right Lisa?

Lisa Heffernan: Yep that’s right.

Sue: Now they are deep into the whole parenting thing and they founded together Grown and Flown and now they are the co-authors of a soon to be released book named Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family and Raise Independent Adults. Go online and order your copy now. We’re so excited to have you here Lisa.

Lisa Heffernan: Oh I’m so happy to be here.

Sue: I just got to meet Lisa in New York. I was in New York and Lisa lives in New York. And so we were able to get coffee together and it was such a treat. I really enjoyed spending time with you. Thanks so much.

Lisa Heffernan: Oh it was it’s so great when you get to meet people that you only met online it’s really nice.

Sue: Absolutely. OK. So our first question for you is what prompted you and Mary to start Grown and Flown?

Lisa Heffernan: You know it was kind of a lark. It’s turned out to be something much bigger and all consuming than we ever imagined. At the time we started it our youngest kids were in maybe 9th or 10th grade and our oldest kids, she has two and I have three, were freshmen and sophomores in college and we were just finding that we were in what we thought to be the hardest and most consequential years of parenting and there just wasn’t a lot online to be read. These year I think are particularly challenging we know all the normal challenges of raising teens but they’re particularly challenging because the experts in our lives in that period, the pediatrician, the teachers coaches, people who’ve you’ve spoken to along the way and perhaps gave you expert advice they begin to disappear from our lives. So suddenly you’re kind of on your own. So we thought we’d create a community and get some experts online and try and grow something.

Sue: And that you really did. So how did you find your workspouse?

Lisa Heffernan: We met the way a lot of parents meet. We were volunteers at our kid’s school. Our youngest kids were in third grade together and we met when they were 8 year olds. We were volunteers in the school shop.

Steph: Oh that is cute. And what were you both doing professionally before you launched Grown and Flown?

Lisa Heffernan: I was writing business books. So I had worked on Wall Street as you mentioned for many years. And then I began after that to write business books. So I wrote the history of Goldman Sachs and some other well-known companies and Mary Dell was at the time working with pet therapy in a hospital.

Sue: So a natural segway to the next part of your life.

Lisa Heffernan: It was a big it was a big turn. You know we used to read Lisa Belkin in the New York Times. It was a column called “The Motherlode” that maybe some people remember. And occasionally Lisa would write something about teens and I would drink those columns like somebody’s thirsty in the desert. It would be like, “Oh my goodness someone knows what I’m going through. Someone has got a window into my life.” And I thought what if people could get that kind of content all the time? So that’s what we did.

Sue: How did you…? Because we hear this all the time when we talk about raising middle schoolers and high schoolers. How did you balance telling your kids stories? Because I remember reading that I think it’s actually in your introduction to your book that you guys felt like you had five like lab animals to be your…

Lisa Heffernan: We call them data points.

Sue: That’s lovely. That’s such a nicer way to say it.

Steph: We used to call ours rats.

Sue: Okay yeah. So you have these five data points and it’s their own stories. How did you balance what was private for them but something that you were struggling with and wanted to share with other people?

Lisa Heffernan: It’s super tough because you really can’t tell your kids stories at the point at which you know as I said our youngest kids were 10th graders. It’s their story to tell it’s not our story to tell. You try and write from the point of view of how you’re experiencing things and what you’re thinking and leave their story as the broadest outline. So you could say a kid is struggling with school and leave it at that. You don’t need to delve into the details of why they’re struggling in school and then tell your story about how you’re reacting to it, how you’re feeling lost because you can’t really run in and talk to the teacher the way you did when there were third grade, how you’re trying to get them to take some actions to remedy their situation. So you focus on yourself rather than focusing on them because it’s not your story. You really can’t go online and tell your teen’s story.

Sue: Well that’s interesting because we have it and you have it that people write for us about their lives all the time and they put themselves out in a very vulnerable way where they are in fact doing that and really giving the scenario of what they’re coping with in hopes of making someone else feel less lonely in that same scenario. So it’s an interesting space when you’re trying to protect your kid from over exposure but you also want to be sharing, right?

Lisa Heffernan: We find that our writers get permission from their kids by and large I’m sure your eyes do the same. Their kids are interested in putting their stories out there either because they’ve been very public about their story or because as you say they really want to help someone else. And for many families we find this all the time, I’m sure you find the same. It’s life changing to hear that somebody else is going through the same exact thing you’re going through really changes your outlook entirely and also broadens your ability to find places to get help. When people come into our community and they have a problem, they may not know anyone in real life world who can help them with that problem. But when you come online to a community and others have had the same experience you actually get help that changes the problem and changes the course of your life.

Sue: You get help and you feel less lonely.

Lisa Heffernan: Absolutely it’s wonderful.

Steph: So along those lines let’s go with that theme. What are the three biggest challenges of young adulthood that you hear from your readers?

Lisa Heffernan: I think the biggest one is kids finding their path. We grew up in a world where there was just fewer options I think and you were expected to find a job, you were expected to become a teacher, or a nurse, or a lawyer, or a business person and that would be your path and that’s what you would do and you jumped on it and there was a clear way of getting there. There were milestones that were easily demarcated. I think the economic pressures are much worse on our kids. The debt pressures are staggering on kids who’ve been through the college experience and so I think finding their paths is a very difficult thing. And I think it’s one of the places parents can be really helpful.

Sue: So our kids are dealing with their own set of challenges but as we know the parents are dealing not necessarily with those same challenges but a whole set of their own. What did you find in particular for yourselves and for your readers and writers in your community?

Lisa Heffernan: You mean the parent challenge and getting them through the stage?

Sue: Well in parenting not even getting them through just in parenting through this very new experience of raising young adults.

Lisa Heffernan: You know one of the biggest challenges I think people find is we have this expectation that it’s going to be somewhat like what it was like for us and our relationship with our kids, and this is not me and my relationship or you and your relationship, but generationally is so fundamentally different than the ones that we had with the previous generation. So there’s been lots of research on this, there’s a lot of surveys and data that shows that they want to talk to us more. They like us more. They want to spend more time with us.

Sue: They like us more? Yay!

Lisa Heffernan: They like us more isn’t that fantastic? So heartwarming. And they confide in thusis more. The difference is for both sons and daughters it’s even more pronounced for boys. Whereas we might have struggled with some of these problems ourselves and maybe called our parents once a week and maybe told them our problems but maybe not. They come to us with their problems. And so you are constantly on that narrow balance beam of trying to figure out how much advice to give, how much directive perhaps to give, how much to sit back and just listen and when you’ve overstepped. And my experience is you know when you’ve overstepped after you’ve done it, not before you’ve done it. So there’s constantly that feeling like, “Oh I should not have said that.” Because you want to give them the benefit of your experience and whatever wisdom you may have gathered but you really don’t want to direct their lives.

Sue: The worst part for me is when they set me up because they asked me for advice but they don’t really want my advice and then they’re pissed off with my advice. I hate that.

Lisa Heffernan: Well so often you have to, and I know you know this too, you have to sit and think to yourself, “Do they just want me to listen?” They’re asking a question but let’s scratch below the surface, and this is true of any teenager or any college kid young adult. Most of the time they’re just asking for us to listen and then they’re going to go off and figure it out themselves. So sometimes less said the better.

Sue: Yeah we have the acronym W.A.I.T. “Why Am I Talking.”

Steph: Why am I talking? Why am I talking.

Sue: Who did we hear that from?

Steph: Someone just told us. It’s so good! It was someone on our podcast.

Lisa Heffernan: My favorite is Lisa de Moraes which is that so often they’re asking you to take out their emotional trash. All they want to do is dump their bad day on you, their bad week on you, their frustration on you, their fight with a friend, their disappointment in an exam result. There are problems at work. They literally just want to dump it on you and then walk away and feel better and you know what that’s OK.

Sue: Except I feel worse like you know—

Lisa Heffernan: That’s true.

Sue: The war wound is that you feel better.

Steph: Yeah.

Sue: And I feel worse.

Steph: I always picture it like a weight that they’ve got is 10 pound weight and they’re like, “Here you go Mom.” And they’re out the door because they’ve just gotten rid of it. So you know you touch on something. It’s funny, I’m thinking about what you were talking about in terms of research and they want to talk to us more and they call us more and they want our opinions and you know they’re grown and they’re sort of flown right? And so you know for parents who are listening what advice do you give them about this new relationship with their high school graduate, first semester college kid?

Lisa Heffernan: The advice that we— And I’m not a big dispenser of advice but you know I try to think of as a transition. So it’s a handoff process. You know you’re gonna start the period is very much a parent when you’ve got a 13 year old, a 14 year old. There’s a reason they live with us, they’re not ready for that sort of independence and you’re going to end the process in almost a mentoring or aunt or uncle kind of role where you’re there to consult, you’re there to listen, you’re there for advice when you’re asked it, but you’re not interfering and pushing your way into their lives. And so if you think of yourself on that transition you just kind of want to make sure that you’re always moving forward on that transition that you’re less hands on more hands off but you’re always there. The big difference between our generation and the previous generations is that we are going to be much more involved in their lives all along the way into their adulthood. And the research is really really good about how helpful this is. How the kids who have close relationships with their parents are less depressed, are less anxious. There was some great research done around college freshmen that college freshmen drank less alcohol on days when they spoke to their parents even if their parents never mentioned drinking. So we continue to be an important and really positive influence in their lives. I don’t think parents should get themselves all bent out of shape about being helicopters. I think most of us are not helicopters I don’t think that’s the risk. But you’re on this transition where you’re moving towards this mentor role. That’s the goal that we’re trying to get to.

Steph: You just said to me about college freshmen. So I have a friend who has one and so. I know somebody who has a college freshman. So let’s talk about those challenges when that first one is home. I don’t know for like a summer and you’re laying awake at night because they’re used to doing their own thing and all of a sudden they’re under your roof. To quote our parents their whole generation right? Did any of them not use that sentence, “When you’re under my roof.” What does that look like?

Lisa Heffernan: It’s really challenging. First of all you’re awake because they’re in the kitchen making food and it’s 2:00 a.m. and you could kill them.

Sue: Wait was that permission? Yes? OK.

Lisa Heffernan: They come back and they forget that their younger brothers and sisters are still in high school and like getting up in the morning at 6:30 and out the door at 7:15, that everybody’s working. And they live like they’re in a dormitory and it literally makes you psychotic. And when they’re not doing that they’re running out the door with their friends and they’re not there for family dinner and they act like you’re running a hotel.

Steph: Well you sound like you’re living in my friend’s house Lisa.

Lisa Heffernan: It’s a pretty… I mean it’s problems around curfew. They are phenomenally inconsiderate. I mean really inconsiderate like no houseguest would behave like your college freshman behaves.

Steph: That’s good. I’ll I’ll be sure to let my friend know that she might feel much better.

Sue: So I just want to also comment on when you were talking about the kind of parenting that happens in this next stage. I think there’s a big gap between what you’re saying and who I want to be and so I had to really work through this pulling back from how involved… How their pain still seeps into me and I don’t really have the power to be involved in that. So I don’t know it seems to me like it’s at least for me really hard.

Lisa Heffernan: Yeah. That I think we at the end of the book we talk about things that we never realized. Like what we’ve learned. Sort of like it’s just like our own little survey, what we learned over the last decade doing this. And one of the things is that that doesn’t end. That because we are going to be more involved in their lives, because that’s the way the communication has set us all up because that creates the closeness in our families it frankly is the richness in life. You know that staying close to your adult child it means the downside is exactly what you’re saying that we ride the roller coaster a little with them. Lisa Belkin I mentioned earlier had a great metaphor that you can stand at the ticket booth so you don’t actually have to get on the roller coaster with them. You may watch them ride it but you don’t actually have to ride it with them.

Steph: That’s good.

Sue: I need to find out how that happens.

Lisa Heffernan: I think about that all the time.

Sue: It’s a great metaphor.

Steph: It feels like such a waste of a ticket.

Lisa Heffernan: Stand at the ticket booth. Stand at the ticket booth. Don’t get on the rollercoaster.

Sue: Don’t buy it. So you mentioned the end of your book where you talk about the things that surprised you most. This one is just so true. I love it. I’m just going to quote it and then it will tempt everybody else to go out and buy the book. “We will wage the battle between helping them to little and helping them too much all of our lives.”

Lisa Heffernan: Yeah. That is just, it’s like I said it’s like a balance beam. It’s this narrow little space that we try and you know find footing on all the time. They’re your kids, you love them more than life itself. You want to be helpful, you want to be supportive. You do not want to disable their adulthood and you’re constantly trying to find the best way to do that and remain close. That’s what the balance is. That will never— I somehow thought that when my eldest kid went to freshman year. Like that’s it, great we’re sorted. No. That was just the beginning of a new kind of balance that we were going to find.

Steph: I jotted down as you were talking you said something earlier Lisa and I wrote down “Done?” with a question mark and after I wrote never ending.

Lisa Heffernan: Never ending. Exactly. But again isn’t that the richness in all of our lives? I mean don’t we want to know them and because to them and you know have that relationship. Be one that matters you know above all of our relation— Or you know as much as all of our relationships.

Steph: Yeah it’s funny I was thinking about this recently and I’m actually a little choked up when I just read you know I was looking at the line we just read from your book. And I hear a lot of parents talking about you know these teen years obviously because of what we do and saying they wish for the toddler years back. And maybe I’m in the minority but I find these years so much richer. It doesn’t mean they’re not difficult and it doesn’t mean they aren’t fraught with the, “Where do I step in? When do I buy the ticket and I get on the ride?” moments. But I find them so much more meaningful just in a different way. I don’t know if I’m articulating it well but I just I love words. I love like the the depth of relationships. And so for me as a mother it’s where I have found the most joy.

Lisa Heffernan: It’s just the most… It’s a gift like nothing else to watch a human being emerge. To watch the adult emerge from the child. And to watch your kids make their way in the world, and to know that you’re there as… Not as a support like a scaffolding support but as a support when you know when they need to come back and just get a little bit of— I almost think of it… Do you remember when they were little and they went to the park and they would play on the playground and they would run back over to you and they would put their hands on you and look at you and then they would run back to the playground. They didn’t actually need you to climb the jungle gym. They didn’t need you to go down the slide. They just needed to know that you were there every so often just a touch on the knee and say mom’s still here and I’m off. Adulthood is kind of like that when they call you and say, “Oh my god I had the worst day.” And they just dump it all on you as we were talking about and then they run off to their adult life that they’re very much and totally capable of doing. That’s a wonderful thing to be able to do to share that with them and to be there and to be that for them. That you’re helping them in that way all of their life.

Sue: That’s a beautiful picture I love that. It’s so tender. Translating that tender to the maybe not tender moments that we sometimes experience with our adolescents. So we are going to model the end of our podcast after Guy Raz from “How I Built This.” If imitation is the biggest form of flattery then Guy Raz should call us and say thank you. And our question that we’re going to end with and you are the first one to do this one Lisa.

Steph: No pressure. No pressure.

Sue: What is the biggest myth about parenting college age kids?

Lisa Heffernan: The biggest myth about parenting college age kids I think is that they’re gone. We went off to college and we called our parents once a week and we really were gone. And when you send a kid to college I think in your mind you very much have the model of… You throw yourself back to the 1980s and the 1990s and you think, “You know my parents dropped me off and then I called them once a week and that was our relationship.” That is not the relationship we have with our college kids. As they said they like us, they want to be with us, they confide in us more because we can text and message and GroupMe and because let’s be honest the college school year is about 15 minutes long. They’re back before you know it. They’re not really gone in that way. So like a lot of families, probably most families, my family has a group chat and I call it a digital dinner table because it’s the place that the five of us just continue the conversation online that we had for 20 years over a wooden table. And I think many families find exactly the same thing. That they’re just not gone in the way that we were gone. So I find that the panic that most parents have about their kids leaving for college is that they’re basing it on their own experience and their experience as a parent will be entirely different than their experience was as a freshman.

Sue: Lisa Heffernan thank you so much for being with us. You left us with some beautiful imagery and really everyone should go out and buy your book titled Grown and Flown. Thank you.

Lisa Heffernan: Thank you so much.

Steph: Thanks for joining us for Your Teen podcast. If you have any topics that you want us to talk about let us know on our Facebook page or email [email protected]

Sue: Your Teen with Sue and Steph is a production of Evergreen podcasts. Special thanks to executive producer Michael DeAloia plus producer Hannah Leach and audio engineer Eric Koltnow.

Steph: You can find more from us at, at or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Sue: And don’t forget if you like today’s podcast please leave us an iTunes review. Help other parents find our podcast.

Steph: We’ll see you next time.

View Less

Recent Episodes

View All

What is Sextortion?

Your Teen with Sue and Steph
Sextortion is the practice of extorting money or sexual favors from a victim by threatening to reveal evidence of their sexual activity—and it's h...
Listen to What is Sextortion?

Are Your Teenagers Glued to Their Screens?

Your Teen with Sue and Steph
Technolgy is taking over our kids' lives, and our guest Dr. Michael Rich knows how parents can change the dynamic toward healthier technology usag...
Listen to Are Your Teenagers Glued to Their Screens?

How a Well-Connected Family Can Act as a Buffer Mental Illness

Your Teen with Sue and Steph
We are living with a viral pandemic, but also a mental health pandemic for our teenagers. What is going on?...
Listen to How a Well-Connected Family Can Act as a Buffer Mental Illness

How to Keep Your New Driver Alive

Your Teen with Sue and Steph
New drivers aren't great drivers. But they might think they are....
Listen to How to Keep Your New Driver Alive