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Monthly Series for Parents of High School Seniors: July

what to do when the mission trip high wears off(1)

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 a full year's worth of memory-making ideas, plus these articles as monthly emails HERE.

July: Dealing with the discomfort of limbo

If you thought your teen was antsy in April, just wait until mid-July. They're itching to get to school and start their new life, and they may be driving you crazy by now.

Don't be surprised if you're having more conflicts and arguments; they're trying to test their independence, and might be doing a sloppy job of it. Hang in there and hold fast to your summer house rules.

Also, try to keep a thick skin at their indifference to your sadness about them leaving. Their insensitivity is often hiding their insecurity and nervousness about leaving. In other words, this is a great month for an extra dose of grace and prayer for each other.

3 Ideas for July

A memory to capture: If you haven't already done so, squeeze in one last family vacation before August.

Trust me when I say that family vacations are never the same after your teen leaves for college, so schedule one last trip, even if it's a long weekend or overnight camping.

A conversation to have: Play the "What if?" game to help your teen anticipate and troubleshoot common college hiccups. For example, ask:

  • What if you don't like your roommate?
  • What if you start doubting your major?
  • What if you are at a party or event and feel unsafe?
  • What if you run out of money?
  • What if you get sick?
  • What if you are homesick?
  • What if your faith is challenged or you start having doubts?
  • What if you breakup with your boyfriend/girlfriend?

The object isn't for them to have the "right" answers, but to start thinking about how they'll come up with solutions on their own.

An exercise to let go: Shop for their dorm room together.

Tip: break up shopping into bite-size chunks. (For such a small room, it's amazing how much stuff you can end up buying!) Make one outing for bedding and towels, one for clothes, one for electronics, one for organization and storage, etc. Spreading out these trips also makes the expense a little softer on your budget, which is likely already in overdrive.

A verse to reflect on:

Jeremiah 29:11-13: For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

Next up: August = the art of saying goodbye

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