Should parenting style change once your child graduates high school?
I remember the day after I graduated high school I immediately expected to be treated like an adult--that meant no curfew and no mandatory break-down of who I hung out with at night. I knew this also meant I needed to become more independant on my end-- budget my earnings so I didn't need to borrow gas money and clean my own messes. (Some days I was better at this than others.)My parents gave me a lot of independance in the months leading up to and following graduation, even though I'm sure it was difficult for them. What are your thoughts on this very touchy time of year? How are your graduates handling the cross over into pseudo-adulthood?
The cross over time between adolescence and young adulthood can be very tough for both parents and their teens. You're correct in thinking that giving your teen increasing amounts of independence in the months leading up to graduation is a good idea. It can be very scary and traumatic for a teen to go from strict rules to virtually no rules when they leave home for the first time. Without some type of transition, teens may easily begin making irrational decisions when faced with independence.
It is the responsibility of parents and teachers to prepare teens both emotionally and through the teaching of independant living skills for post-graduation life. It's important not to wait until the end of their senior year before you begin to talk about their future. Begin by teaching them daily life skills such as doing laundry and cooking meals.
Schools will often teach students how to create a budget, pay their bills, buy groceries, and apply for jobs and colleges. As a parent there are things you can do in the months leading up to and immediately following graduation to help your teen transition emotionally. If there are no immediate behavior concerns, begin to let your teen stay out later during the weekends. Require less check-in calls from them while they are out. Begin to decrease the amount of allowance or spending money you provide for them. In addition, begin to let them make more life decisions on their own such as balancing their weekly schedule between work, school, and other obligations.
Your role as a parent will begin to change from that of a director to more of a mentor. Spend time discussing with them rather than telling them what to do or how to handle a problem. When they have a problem discuss options, advantages, and disadvantages with them. Let them come up with the ultimate solution, while gently giving them your advice along the way. Remember to praise them when they do make good decisions!!
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I had to laugh at this one because I have a similar issue -- even though I supposedly don't care about "labels", it gets on my nerves (just a little) every time my parents ask me, "How is college going?" I remind them that I finished college several years ago; I'm in GRADUATE SCHOOL now. But school is school, and young is young, especially to your parents. In any case, I do think that parents should respect the adult image teens have of themselves once they have graduated from high school, and give them both more freedom and more responsibility. High school is tough, and one of the biggest rewards of finishing it is finally getting a little respect along with that diploma.
Parenting style should change as children grow up. Parents typically change as they get more trust in their kids and then tighten things back up when they need to teach to the child's mistakes. When a child graduates they are still growing and expect more privileges so give them some more that you are comfortable with and see how they handle that. Don't give too much freedom too quick. Also, we need to give more freedom so they can learn to make good choices. Pre-teach expectations to sett them up for success. They need to learn to please themselves as well as parents.