This article was first published on Momaha on May 21, 2015.
It’s graduation time!
Everywhere, parents of high school seniors are in high preparation mode, getting ready for ceremonies, parties and visits from family members. High school graduation is a big accomplishment and rite of passage (for kids and parents alike!) – and well worth celebrating.
Here are some tips for maintaining your sanity (and your graduating senior’s safety) during this season.
1. Get in touch with your child’s school and do one last run through on the checklist for commencement day. Has all the paperwork been done? Has your child met all the requirements, such as passing all classes, completing community service hours, paying parking tickets, turning in books, etc.? Work with your child to address any outstanding issues.
2. Talk with your son or daughter about graduation celebrations. Go over the list for your own child’s celebration to make sure everyone who needs an invitation receives one. Make sure you have everything (food, decorations, parking) covered. Have a candid talk with your graduating senior about being a gracious host at the party – revisit the importance of introductions and thank-you notes.
Along the same lines, remind your senior that high school graduation does not equal legal adulthood. Be clear that you want your child to have fun and make memories, but be physically, morally, and spiritually safe at the same time. Have a safety plan in place in case your teen ends up in a situation where partying gets illegal or otherwise out of control.
1. Remember, in the midst of all the activity and all the “to dos,” no one knows or loves your child like you do. Take advantage of every opportunity to say, “I love you and I’m proud of you!”
2. Look for extra opportunities to grab a few minutes or an evening with your senior. Go to a favorite restaurant or grab a cup of coffee or an ice cream treat. Offer to help with thank-you notes, and spend that time together remembering the good memories from high school.
This is a special time for your child and your family. If you set some mutual expectations and attend to the graduation details, you and your senior can reduce conflict and make the most of this special time and each other.
* * *
Laura Holmes Buddenberg joined Father Flanagan’s Boys’ Home in January 2000. In her capacity as a training manager at Boys Town, Laura works as an administrator, writer and trainer, specializing in the areas of teen dating and relationships, media awareness, family spirituality, abuse and other issues affecting today’s families.