Parents of graduating seniors have probably heard more than once, “I can’t wait until I don’t have to listen to your rules and I can do whatever I want.”
Most seniors are giddy over the idea of heading off to college. They are eager to choose their own bedtime, where they keep their things and how late they stay out. As launching time approaches, many of these seniors who were super-confident at graduation start questioning themselves and their next steps after graduation: What if I chose the wrong college? What if I don’t make any friends? What if I am choosing the wrong career track?
Many parents are also experiencing a mixed bag of emotions. They are excited about their teen taking the next step, yet somewhat fearful about their future. Parents realize a big transition is coming and there are still nuggets of wisdom they wish to pass on, yet they don’t have much time to do it. They become clingy at a time when their teen is trying to be more independent. This can make for a very interesting and long summer.
Fortunately, all of this is a natural reaction to graduation.
What can you do to help your graduate successfully leave the nest with confidence?
Here are some tips on next steps after graduation—just for you.
Just listen. Let them talk about all of the things running through their mind. Try to do this without minimizing their feelings.
Remind them that they can choose to water seeds of doubt and let the lies grow or they can pluck them out quickly before the roots get too strong.
A little stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Any new journey will by definition produce anxiety. You can’t help but wonder about this, that and the other. The little bit of anxiety goes a long way to help us perform at our best.
Remind them that the applicant pools have never been larger than they are now. If they received an acceptance letter, they can rest assured that the institution believes they can handle the work. The letter speaks volumes about the preparedness they bring to the college campus.
Don’t believe that nobody on the college campus will care. There are many people on campus who want to see their students succeed.
As a parent, you may be struggling over your child’s next steps after graduation, too. Instead of trying to talk through this with your graduate, seek the wisdom and support of other parents who are already on this journey.
If you have always done your teen’s laundry, cooked their meals, managed their money and helped them get to school/job on time, STOP. Summer is a great time to learn how to do these things for themselves, since you won’t be accompanying them to college.