This post will pique the interest of parents with high school seniors.  The post-graduation summer between high school and college is a creature alive with its own personality.  These months require parenting skills unlike those in any other phase of parenting.  

I remember the summer before I left for college I made a very questionable choice, after which my mother wrung her hands and exclaimed, “With this behavior, how can you be ready to go across the country to college?”  

Well, I needed to grow through my mistakes. In my opinion, what our high school graduates need from us is the communication and guidance to safely transition to more independent living. 

Two of my children have crossed this bridge, and I’ve witnessed many other families handle the transition.  The ideas I share below are tactics you may have already practiced or been forced into thinking about as senior year has progressed. 

1. Communication works better than restriction.

Allow your graduate to earn more freedom with reliable two-way communication.  Working through life’s issues and challenges with discussion is IN.  Grounding at this point is OUT – what does it teach them?  (I can answer that – it teaches them to go crazy once they leave your humble abode).  

2. Scheduled family time still matters.

It’s an easy mistake to think that family time no longer matters to your graduate.  Hold onto a few family traditions with her, be it dinners together, worship time, or family movie night.  Though they may grumble (it’s a habit for some), deep down it feels good for them to have roots.  Give them a semester at college and they’ll appreciate home even more. 

A nice side benefit of maintaining some family time is that you the parent will feel less resentful of their freedoms.  

3. A little flexibility can go a long way.

It’s time to do a review of your house rules for this particular child.  Keep the few you feel most strongly about, and examine which of the others you can relax as your graduate earns more freedom.  For example, which is more important: that she still calls when she is out and changes locations or that she doesn’t watch any TV in the house after midnight?  Keep communicating about the value of the rules you do enforce, though sometimes you just have to stress that you don’t expect her to understand your perspective. 

Mama J (Diane Fromme) is a writer, parent, and stepparent located in Northern Colorado.  For more information on her book, Stepparenting the Grieving Child, go to

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply