Does the melody of “Pomp and Circumstance” cause a small lump in your throat? Does the thought of your child wearing a cap and gown bring tremendous pride AND an undercurrent of fear? If you’re both excited and scared about your student’s upcoming high school commencement (and pending adulthood), you’re not alone.
The transition from high school to college stirs up mixed emotions for both students and parents. As parents, we champion our kids through diapers, preschool, puberty and braces. We support them through the sometimes stormy seas of high school. And now we face graduation.
And letting go.
An estimated 3.4 million college freshmen will load up their futons and dreams this fall, leaving frightened, overly-attached parents in their wake. This milestone is a big one! How do we learn what to expect? How can we equip our kids for success? What can we say or do to help the launch go smoothly? How can we impart wisdom and enable independence? How can we maintain a sense of calm in all of the chaos? Seriously, what’s a parent to do?
We start by maintaining an open, honest line of communication with our children. We talk about the fun stuff, the hard stuff and even the scary stuff. However, we must remember not to project our own angst onto our students. They already have enough worries of their own. They may not show it, but they’re scared too.
In addition, we need to be intentional about modeling emotionally-healthy behaviors for our kids. What does this mean? It means, if your student is having a meltdown, don’t have one of your own. It’s easy to play into the drama. Don’t do it. It helps no one. Plus, it detracts from our ultimate goal of raising healthy, happy adults who are equipped to survive in the real world.
We’re preparing them for life after high school. And college (or the military, or working, or taking a gap year) is NOT high school. Parental roles and responsibilities change during this season of life. How does one transition into the role of after-high-school-parent?
- Parent like a mentor—listen, support and advise when asked. Give your child opportunities to make decisions.
- Don’t hover. Your child will not learn valuable life lessons if you’re problem-solving for him/her.
- Prepare yourself for this transition. If your child is college-bound, educate yourself by attending orientation sessions and joining an online parent group at their university.
You’re not in this alone! Get your survival guide today. Out to Sea: A Parents’ Survival Guide to the Freshman Voyage will help you navigate both the practical AND emotional aspects of the freshman year (or first year out of high school). It addresses roommate relations, mental health issues, helicopter parenting, and money management. It also includes packing lists, care package ideas and shares expert suggestions from college administrators and staff, psychologists, experienced parents and current students.
Out to Sea: A Parents’ Survival Guide to the Freshman Voyage provides solutions to common post-high school parental challenges and prepares you for what comes next. Read it today so you can enjoy the upcoming months, feeling prepared and empowered as you help your child set sail into college life.