Monthly Series for Parents of High School Seniors: April
Note: each month we're giving parents of seniors a spiritually encouraging "checklist" to capture the best moments from senior year. Sign up to automatically get these articles as monthly emails HERE.
April: Your final month before CRAZY (aka graduation season)
Antsy. That's how your teen is acting right now.
"Senioritis" typically sets in during April as the light at the end of the high school tunnel gets stronger. If your antsy teen is starting to drive you nuts, that's normal. Their impatience for the end will inevitably clash with your deep-rooted desire to Slow Down Time Already. Arguments will ensue. Again--also normal.
To help, try this: counter tension with quality time. Opportunities for quality moments are getting fewer, so take advantage when you can.
And fellow parent, this is when you'll start to really feel it. You have two choices: repress and delay, or surrender. My encouragement is to surrender. It will be hard (and get harder--sorry), but God is strong and full of comfort and courage. As the memories of your teen's life surface, thank God for each and every one, and for all of the new memories you'll create together in the years to come.
3 Ideas for April
A memory to capture: Take advantage of intentional family time (ex. once weekly family dinner).
May is going to be CRAZY TOWN, which means that April is your last chance to plan quality family time before your schedule hits overdrive. Plan one or two special family meals, game nights, hikes, or other activities to enjoy together. And if you're thinking, "Oh, we'll have plenty of time for family during summer," think again. Your teen will have one agenda for summer: spending their final months with friends and boyfriends/girlfriends. Book them now while they still see friends every day at school.
A conversation to have: Ask your teen, "What are the top three things you're looking forward to next year?"
Please note: I was tempted to have you ask "What are the top 3 things you'll miss most about me next year?" but I tried that once with my teen and don't recommend it. Trust me, they’ll answer sarcastically. So instead of focusing on what they'll be leaving behind, focus on what's ahead. For bonus points, ask yourself the same question (though don't feel pressure to answer it with your teen). Transition years are challenging, but they can be filled with a lot of joy, too. End your conversation with a short prayer asking God to go before you both into the future.
An exercise to let go: Create a collage of life moments from photos, awards, etc. for display at your teen’s graduation party.
Yes, you could procrastinate and do this on the eve before your teen's graduation party but I don't recommend it. This is exactly the kind of task you’ll want to take your time with, and you'll resent it if you have to rush. So start now and enjoy the process. You will cry. A lot. And that's okay. Give yourself permission to linger over memories now before the pace of graduation season overtakes you.
Parting parenting inspiration:
"For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."