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Moms Talk about Launching Our High School Graduates

The transition between parenting children and parenting young adults

For parents with graduating high school seniors it can be a see-saw of emotions. One minute we're pulling out the hankies, and the next we're pulling out our hair!

Some of my friends, also parents of graduating seniors, say their short-tempered kids are "soiling the nest," nature's signal that it is time for parents to part with their young. At the same time, I no longer complain about the loud singing that penetrates every wall in the house because I know it will be much quieter this September.

Many young graduates will be heading away from home in the next few months, even if just across Lake Washington, so how do we prepare them for the freedoms (and responsibilities) that lie just ahead? Some argue for letting go of the leash entirely--no curfew anymore (they need to learn on their own to get enough sleep), no requirement that they clean their room or do laundry on any certain schedule, etc.

While I see the logic to having them learn some tough lessons on their own (no clean clothes, too sleepy to do their job well) it's difficult to let go of these rules because they feel like security ropes--for me.

Momtrust blogger July 07, 2011 at 05:24 PM
The process of letting the leash out is gradual; it's probably too late to have any real impact if one waits until the summer after high school graduation. For college-specific skills, begin the freshman year of high school. Slowly give your teens more responsibility for their finances: put them on a budget similar to what they will have in college, so by the time they are seniors, they have learned how to plan for shampoo, new shoes, and pizza purchases BEFORE they are on their own. Help them balance their accounts. Ensure they are getting themselves up for school with an alarm; they aren't going to magically learn this behavior in college. And, most importantly, remember that you are the parent: you set the rules, and they follow them. if you want don't want your teen sleeping in or staying out late, set the rules. Good sleep habits now will help in college. They will have plenty of freedom in college, and the more you lay the groundwork for good habits, the better off they will be. Let the leash out gradually, but keep holding it in your hand--and when they are off-leash at college, they know you will be near (at least in spirit).

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