Graduation is a major milestone for your son. Congratulations! Now what?
Welcome To Adulthood – After Graduation
This is a very exciting time for most families. I congratulate you if you are honoring a grad in your home. It’s a time to honor the achievement and begin to plan the next steps if you haven’t already done so. If your son plans to attend college you have most likely been working towards this day for awhile. If he isn’t a candidate for college have you talked about his options?
“The Exit Plan”
An exit plan involves both parents. If dad is present he should be the one to be hands-on with his son.
At the start of your son’s junior year of high school begin to “nudge” him toward planning for his future. This exit plan will help with transitioning; it will open the conversation to talk about goals, purpose, direction, independence and prevents what’s ahead from being/becoming a shock!
Obviously college is great as it prepares him for a career and offers the experience of being independent (doing his own laundry for starters!). The best advice for parents during this transition is to let your son go, let him discover who it is, and what it is he wants to be. If he is attending college and staying at home I would recommend you treat him very similar. Just because he choses to stay home doesn’t mean you need to “do more” – remember it’s time to grow up. It’s time to be a man.
I had an email from a mom last week asking me “when is it time to say enough?” Her sons are 30, 25, and 20. My response was very direct, she’s past due! As parents we have shifted our thinking to believing we must continue to parent our children forever. Love them forever. Teaching and encouraging independence should start at birth.
It’s Not A Perfect Science
Let’s talk about the young man that isn’t sure what he wants to do after high school. He wants to wait before committing to college. I remember I initially wanted “a break.” I was tired of school and tired of the structure. My dad quickly let me know that I shouldn’t expect to “lay around the house” and that I’d need to begin searching for a job asap! In my case as many of you already know I joined the U.S. Air Force and continued my education while serving my country.
A word of caution is this, don’t allow your son to do nothing. He can’t lay around the house playing video games and watching T.V. This behavior is and will quickly lead to habit; before you know it he’ll be contributing to the epidemic of “26 year olds living at home gaming.”
As drop out rates have hit a crisis level, maybe you’re struggling with an adolescent boy that didn’t finish high school. If so, he needs a healthy male role model and mentor. It’s critical for his future that he gets back in school and completes his education. If necessary seek counseling and guidance for your son. Education is not optional.
Are you celebrating your son’s graduation this year? Or are you wondering how to “get him out of the basement?”