Part 2: The Summer of Independence … or so they think!
You proudly watched as your son or daughter crossed the stage, their name read, and the diploma was handed to them signifying the end of a chapter in their lives; the chapter of high school. Following graduation, they gave you the quick hug and kiss and told you they loved you and then headed to the senior all-night party or some gathering of friends signifying their accomplishment.
You sat and watched proudly, no doubt, and you pondered all the moments that lead to graduation day. There was the first day of elementary school, putting them on the bus and watching it pull away; tears filled your eyes, and you reminded yourself that they would graduate from high school before you know it! Then there was the first middle school dance, the first scrapped knee, the first conflict with a friend, and here you are today; their high school graduation. And again, you ask yourself where has time gone?
And graduation has come and gone, and now you are in the midst of summer, and the newfound independence is seeping through, and the reality hits that your baby is now a young man or woman and beginning to embark on the next chapter; whether college, military or a job. So how do we manage the summer of transition?
- Dependence, Interdependence, Independence. As a new born, they rely on their parents for everything. Yes, you remember the sleepless nights, the 3 am feedings and all those dirty diapers. Then they continue to, and before you know it you find yourself in those awkward middle school years, where do I fit and who cares about me? This phase of interdependence is one where your child needs you but are deducing ways to need you less and stretch their wings more and more. Now, post-graduation! I am a young man or woman and am ready to make it on my own; we were all there! Own it and help them understand the responsibility of independence.
- The curfew will no doubt be the next question. Do I still need to be home by midnight or now that I am “eighteen” can I stay out later? This question becomes a game of give and take. The best advice I received was this: trust your child until they give you a reason not to. If that violation of trust occurs, then a conversation takes place about trust and respect. Then the curfew is pulled back. Remember, they are still your child and live in your home; it is ok to parent.
- Have some fun with this time! They are young adults now! The conversations begin to change, and while they strive for that independence, they still love and respect you as parents. Don’t avoid the difficult discussions and support them in the big decisions that lie ahead!
- Remember, the next five to ten years are exciting times for them and you! They complete college, go into a job, and if they are lucky they find their life partner! Be a part of this, love on them all you can, support them, hold them accountable and then love on them some more!
- Finally, as I stated last time, Don’t get to lost in the sentiment of “where did the time go!” Future focus will help you manage some of the more difficult moments by allowing you to stay focused on the successes and hopes ahead for your son or daughter. Time did fly, and it only moves quicker the older we get. So embrace and celebrate every moment ahead!
Part 3 addresses the departure day!
In case you missed part one: Managing The Moments To High School Graduation
Edina High School Principal and Dad.
Bruce Locklear, Ed.D. is an experienced High School Principal, Adjunct Instructor at Bethel University and current Director Of Educational Relations at Jostens