Thursday, June 11, 2020

Lasting Lessons for Your New Graduate

Is your graduate suddenly someone you WANT to see leave the house? Doors slamming, eye rolling, sarcastic remarks, insults that cut to the core? Or maybe they have just checked out and are escaping for as long as possible to spend time with friends.

No worries. It is all normal. Don't take it personally. Actually, take it as a compliment. Because it means two things.

1- Leaving you is going to be hard.

2- Your Child is ready to leave.

Separating themselves physically and emotionally is part of the Senior year process. Your graduates should feel ready to leave. They should be excited and a little wound up about leaving. They should be just a little worried about how they are going to get by without their safety net. Trying to cut that net now is okay.

How it manifests is different in every family, but many graduates who are leaving in the fall, turn a little vicious, or become apathetic towards those in their normally close knit family. They spend as much time away from the home, with friends (or acquaintances),  or  working. They want to start to create space between themselves and you. They become distant.

It is hard. It is terrible. It can be heartbreaking. But it is normal. And they probably don't even realize they are doing it.

As I said to a friend recently, it is much easier for a young adult to leave, if they constantly remind themselves of how irritating or annoying everyone is at home. The graduate reminds himself of all the unpleasant stuff, and keeps it at the surface, ready to pick a fight with everyone, so that he can happily look forward to a time when he will be on his own. Reveling in the good stuff only makes it harder to leave, so they strive to look for the negative.

Does that mean you have to tolerate the rudeness and inappropriateness? Nope. Your house, your rules.  But in communicating the expectations, that for instance they still abide by curfews, get chores completed, treat others with respect etc., remember that they do need to have space right now. Some of the recent grads need physical and emotional space both. Very shortly, you, the parent, will know nothing about how they spend their day, or with whom they spend their time. If they want a little more privacy now, give it to them. Give them some independence. But know what your hard lines are for behavior, and don't let them cross those lines.

It is not okay to be cruel. It is not okay to lie. It is not okay to break trust. Families are built on more than just the time we spend together. Remind them of the essentials - when they are home they need to be really present and they need to communicate respectfully.

With some graduates it may help to give them a simple reminder that they have just a short time left, and it will pass more pleasantly if everyone is nicer. Strive to make the best of the time remaining, and create some good memories to take, rather than leaving with fractured relationships in their wake. It may be the last lesson they remember you giving them before they set off for their next life adventure.

I will be in your all situation next year so come March 2021 someone remind me to read this again and take my own advice!

God Bless you all and thanks for stopping by!

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