Parenting Young Adults: Is There a Rule Book?
February 28th, 2017
It is a new year and for many parents this year will be the year their child graduates from a Kindergarten or High School or College. With each of these milestones comes a new parenting challenge an adjustment in how you react to and interact with your graduate.
For the parents of the kindergarten graduate it is the time in which you think oh he/she is taking a step toward independence. It is an exciting and joyful time. You are proud and know that your child is ready for all that is ahead. Your graduate is ready for first grade! What fun. You are thinking about school projects, class parties and celebrating each new idea and lesson learned. You are making room on the refrigerator for all of the tests and papers and achievements….woo hoo! You’ve got this. Parenting at this stage is fun and a challenge you can’t wait to take on. Your child loves you and loves the fact you are engaged in their day to day life. Life is awesome!
For the parents of a high school graduate…well. You are dealing with mixed emotions. You are excited and want to be part of each moment. You are making memories! You are reading text messages, being friends with their friends, attending all of their events and activities you are involved! Loving every minute! BUT…
Your student is running in the opposite direction…away from you. What? They don’t want you involved in every moment? They don’t want you to be their BFF? You have to be kidding…you are a cool parent…right? What do you do? How do you handle this rejection? Who is this person who is ignoring you?
This is where I need to remind you that this too shall pass…it is what I said to myself over and over while I adjusted to parenting a “child” who wanted and needed me at all times to parenting an 18 year old adult who only wanted money provided and acceptance of all choices made…no questions asked…
I have learned a few things that may help those of you getting ready to cross the path with your high school graduate in 2017. As with all parenting experiences it is not for the faint of heart. You need thick skin. There is no crying in parenting an 18 year old high school graduate, at least don’t let them see you it could be embarrassing. I will talk about how to avoid embarrassing your young adult later.
For now….take a deep breath. Forge ahead…participate in all school events and activities with your senior high school student, whether they like it or not. Hint check out the school calendar that way you will know about school events in case your precious student doesn’t tell you. Make memories, be patient, love your student unconditionally and refuse to take any snub personally.
You have given your student roots and wings. As a high school senior they are just beginning to test their wings and you. Will you still love them no matter what? Will you support their choices? Can they make big decisions without you? Right now they need you to show unconditional love and support. They need you to pray for them and they need you to be their safety net while they take a few test flights.
You can do it! Think about how you can parent differently during this time. Give them space. Give them time. Let them try!