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by Abigail Van Buren

Cutting Her Apron Strings Is Painful for Mother and Son

DEAR ABBY: I am a recent high school graduate who is starting college soon. I am blessed to be part of a great family. The problem is, my mother is TOO good. She has always been kind and loving, but she insists on doing everything for me.

I consider myself to be independent, but she is constantly finding some way to "help." When I tell her I need some space to grow, she cries. I love my mother dearly, but how can I convey to her that I'm a big boy now without hurting her feelings? -- GROWN UP ON THE EAST COAST

DEAR GROWN UP: Your mother appears to be suffering from a common condition known as "Impending Empty Nest Syndrome." It's a form of anxiety and depression that often hits parents when a child is about to leave home and no longer needs the constant parenting that has been the norm for the prior 18 years.

The behavior you're reacting to is called hovering. Your mother may be doing it because she's savoring every last bit of mothering she can get in before you fly off to ever-increasing independence. Please be patient with her because in another month you'll be out of there and she will be starting to adapt.