5 Tips on How You Can Help Your Teen After Graduation

After graduation

Graduation is a huge milestone that marks a new chapter of growth and change in your teen’s life.

Our kids experience a number of different milestones during their school years, but nothing sparks dramatic change quite like high school graduation.

Graduating high school signifies that our teens are on the cusp of adulthood and are beginning the journey of creating their own lives as independent individuals. Some teens may already be accepted by their college, while others are considering trade schools or starting a job right away. There are also plenty of teens who still don’t know what they want to do and need a little more time to figure out a plan.

Here are 5 helpful ways you can help your teen get through high school graduation and begin creating a successful life of their own as an adult.

1. Offer extra support and sympathy as your teen copes with the lack of a traditional graduation ceremony.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of changes we aren’t exactly happy about, including the cancellation of a traditional graduation ceremony for the class of 2020. Boise high school students will have the option to participate in a virtual graduation ceremony and a socially distanced stage walk.

Many teens are upset about what’s happening because they aren’t going to get the graduation experience they’ve been imagining. Offering as much extra support and comfort as you can will help your teen get through it.

2. Motivate your teen to keep an open mind about potential careers by encouraging them to ask questions to those around them.

If your teen isn’t sure what type of career they’d like to pursue or what to study in college, motivate them to explore options they may not have considered and ask questions.

For example, if your teen already takes an interest in their own dental health, encourage them to ask their dentist, dental assistants, or hygienists about their job and why they chose the dental field. Your teen might discover a new career option they hadn’t even thought about before.

3. Help your teen figure out a plan after graduation, especially if college isn’t their next step.

After graduation, one of the first questions your teen will get from friends and family members is “What are you going to do now?”

If your teen is going to college, the answer is pretty straightforward. But if your teen has decided to wait or skip college, they might feel some anxiety or embarrassment. By helping them figure out a plan, they’ll have a confident answer to share, such as “I’m going to wait on college for a year and start working at a local company so I can save money until then.”

4. Book your teen’s dental and health appointments before they move out or their schedule gets slammed.

Even though our teens may now be 18 and legal adults, it can still be tough for them to make their own dental and health appointments without Mom or Dad’s help.

Your teen’s daily schedule is about to really change, especially if they’re moving away for college. Now is the perfect time to book your teen’s preventive care and treatment appointments so they can get everything taken care of before starting college, a new job, or leaving to travel.

5. Spend an afternoon helping your teen create goals for school, work, travel, and other important factors in their life.

Whether your teen has already been accepted into college, is filling out job applications, or is still confused about what their first step should be, goal setting is always a fantastic idea. Setting goals gives your teen’s life structure and can go a long way in helping them figure out what they’d like to do in life. Here is a very helpful web page for helping teens set goals that work.

Even if your teen’s ideas don’t match your picture of their future, always practice patience and respect. It’s fine to share your thoughts, but be careful of expressing your opinion in a negative manner to your teen.

Transitioning to life after graduating high school is just as exciting and challenging for teens as it is for parents.

While you’re busy at your teen’s side helping them plan their future, don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Empty nest syndrome is a real phenomenon, and you can experience those same feelings of grief and loneliness even when your teen isn’t your only child.

It’s important to remember that it’s natural to feel a multitude of different emotions as your teen graduates from high school and begins their adult life. Some days, you may join in your teen’s excitement and even plan out your first kids-free vacation with your spouse. Other days, you may feel downright depressed, especially after your teen leaves home.

Go with the flow, reach out to loved ones for support when you need it, and keep a positive mindset by practicing gratitude and plenty of self-care.