Monthly Series for Parents of High School Seniors: June
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.
June: Take a deep (brief) sigh of rest after graduation
The dust is settling from graduation and summer has arrived. If you're anything like me, you're feeling the need for vacation time to recover from the emotional roller coaster of last month.
Take the time. Seriously.
Even if your vacation is a “staycation” involving the community pool and a stack of paperback fiction, do it. Yes there's still a lot to do before your teen leaves for college, but it's summer. Relax before you dive back in, and then do these things:
3 Ideas for June
A memory to capture: Many colleges host orientation during early summer, and this is a fun event to do together.
Plan a short side trip during the event where you can play tourist in your son or daughter's new college town. Find popular sights to see, favorite pizza joints, recreational trails, Target (of course!), etc. This will give your teen a chance to acclimate to the area, and will give you somewhere to picture them when you're talking throughout the next year.
>> Related: The 5 most important tips for parents attending college orientation with their freshmen
A conversation to have: Negotiate summer rules
Here’s a tip about recently-graduated seniors: they suddenly think they’re adults. Adults who...say...don't feel the need for curfew or house rules. Of course you know better (they're still kids!), so it's REALLY SMART to negotiate summer expectations. Tackle key issues like curfew, summer jobs, family time, and time with friends.
Try not to be offended when they show little interest in spending time with you this summer; they're preparing for independence, which is totally unfair normal. Challenge yourself to give them space, but also challenge them to respect house rules and to commit to family time over the summer months.
An exercise to let go: If you haven't already done so, now is a great time to talk about finances with your teen.
Specifically walk through the whole financial picture for their first college year, including how much you're paying (if any), financial aid details, monthly budgets, etc. Establish a clear understanding of what you might be paying for, and what they’re responsible for.
This is not an area for ambiguity, so get painstakingly detailed. For many teens, their freshman year is also the first time they qualify for a credit card and have to manage a monthly budget. Discuss responsible money management practices, and have them practice tracking expenses and living within a budget during the summer.
Parting parenting inspiration:
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast
Next up: July = when teens get antsy again.