As the season of high school graduation quickly approaches, many parents and teens are beginning to prepare for their next phase in life. There are likely many emotions coming up for parents and children alike during this time: excitement, worry, optimism, and uncertainty. This transition is a time of transformation for family members as parents prepare their children for the next phase of life, and children are making plans for their step into adulthood and independence. Roles will change and relationships will shift, but this doesn’t mean parents will no longer play a role in supporting their children.
Not All Children Take the College Route
There are many opportunities for young adults nowadays, and college is not the option for many of them. Some youth may choose to attend a trade school or join the military. Others may go directly into the workforce or attend a community college. It is important for parents to be supportive and discuss what options are available if their child isn’t headed toward a four-year university. Every job is important in the world. Remind your child of this and discuss their path with them.
It is likely your young adult will experience homesickness during their transition into their independent life. I remember getting dropped off to the dorms for the first time, unpacking, and it hit me — this was independence. I was officially on my own. Your child might seem more distant at times as they learn to be independent. Or it may be the exact opposite. Your young adult may seem more clingy and be in more contact with you.
Encourage and prepare your child for this transition by providing them with the tools they’ll need. This support may include identifying a student organization they may have interest in and be willing to engage with. This can help build a supportive environment for your child. And making connections in a new environment may support their homesickness as well.
Discuss Finances and Budgets
Many parents neglect a conversation with their teens and young adult children about managing their own finances.
Whether you are planning to financially support your child during their young adulthood or not, it is important teens understand how to manage their own finances. These conversations can be had without completely financing their lives during this stage of life.
Planning to have savings set up while making allowances for groceries, eating out, and having money for “fun” versus emergencies are all important aspects for them to understand. A thoughtful discussion related to the cost of their schooling, living arrangements, groceries and more can your child find balance throughout their lives.
Discuss the Realities of Young Adulthood
This is a time when your child will be exploring their world and identity in a way they haven’t been able to before. They will be experiencing their own independence in a new way.
A conversation that examines the highs and lows of this life stage will only help them. There will be challenges and it’s important to learn from our experiences and mistakes. Think back to your own young adulthood and what you wish to have been better prepared for. It’s good to share these experiences with your own young adult child. And give your child feedback when they come to you with questions and concerns. This will help them build their own skills throughout this time period.
Don’t Change Their Room
As our children prepare to move out of their childhood room for that first dorm room or apartment, it is important they have a space to come home to.
The consistency in the home they grew up in and the ability to have a safe space to return to is important. They deserve to have this room remain a safe space to return to without it being invaded by workout equipment or craft tables.
A childhood room can serve as a personal connection to a more simple period of their life during this transition to being an adult. And after serving as a safe space for so long, it’s important for a child to know they still have somewhere to return to when things are more difficult in their life. So why not let them keep it just a little while longer?
If you feel like you aren’t sure how to best support your child, teen or young adult. Child and Family Solutions Center is here to help. Please call us at 248-851-5437 to get started with supportive services.