3 Things Parents of Graduates Should Know

Jun 2, 2014 by



As the school year is drawing to an end, I’m seeing a lot of graduation pictures on social media. They immediately pull me back to our own children’s graduations. They were both exciting and stressful. We were so proud of them for their accomplishment and wanted to celebrate that. But then there also was the “what next” for the future. How will they do? Did we teach them enough? Will they be able to make it on their own?

So here are 3 things you should know.

Celebrate: Right now you need to let your child know how very proud of them you are for reaching this milestone in their life. It’s a big one. They have put in 13 years of schooling to get here; they need to know you appreciate them and their hard work. Show your love and pride in them through celebration and many, many words of affirmation. They have a lot ahead of them with more schooling, jobs, families, decisions – but for now those can wait. Simply kick up your heels and celebrate your amazing child moving from an illiterate 5 year old to a graduate with a diploma. That is awesome! Besides, you did a lot to help them get here. You deserve a party, too.

They are adults: This one is a tough one because they are probably still under your roof and your rules, but your child has accomplished a rite of passage. He/she is an adult, and there are new obstacles to hurtle – for all of you. But it begins with your attitude. As parents, we have to start viewing our children not as kids, but as adult human beings who are in control of their own future. Granted, if you are still footing the bill, you have a say in that future. But they need to know you respect them and their opinion about where they are heading.

They still need you to be their parent:  As adult and independent as your new graduate seems, they still need you as their parent. Aside from keeping a roof over their head and feeding them, they need your love, support, and guidance. It may look different than it used to, and you may need to find other ways to show your love. Your guidance needs to be delivered not as an edict, but as a wise suggestion. You may even need to set new boundaries in your relationship. But bottom line is – they still need their mom and dad.

A couple of weeks ago Jim wrote a beautiful 2-part post on Parents’ Roles. (This post will contain the link to the first part.) Check that out if you missed it. He gave some wonderful guidance on the stages of parenting.

But I just wanted to address parents of graduates today. It’s a special time for you – a new stage of parenting. Do it gracefully and with purpose. It only happens once. And then you reach the next parenting milestone.

How can you best celebrate your graduate?




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