Tag Archive | college prep

Summer Before the Launch: Tips for Parents of Graduates

Friends Carrying Cardboard Boxes In Front Of New House

Note: This article of mine was published on FoxNews.com.  

 

Graduation season is here and excitement is everywhere! Neighborhoods are being marked by balloons in school colors indicating “the party is here,” and each weekend in June streets are lined with the cars of well wishers making the rounds at open houses.

But what happens after the diplomas are handed out and the celebrations are done? Can parents breathe a well-deserved sigh of relief? Not so fast.

Many onlookers believe that most high school graduates are not fully prepared for “the real world.” A Google search on “preparing teens for graduation” would have us believe the focus should be on transcripts, GPAs, college admission requirements, work and community service experiences, and job applications. But with college graduation rates lagging and employers complaining how woefully underprepared young people are for the demands of the workplace, we have to question whether we’re missing the forest for the trees in preparing teens for adulthood.

It’s a time of high anxiety, for sure—both for parents and teens. Teens are experiencing the stress of losing their comfortable support systems, their friends are taking off in different directions, and they’re feeling the impending pressures and responsibilities of adulthood. Parents are asking questions like,” Have I taught them everything they need to know? Will they make good decisions? How will our relationship change? Are they ready for independence?” That’s a lot of stress—for everyone!

Realistically, parents can’t squeeze 18 years of “what might we have missed?” into the last six weeks before the launch. However, with some strategic effort, they can make vital last-minute deposits of wisdom and encouragement, and position their graduates for success in their new environments:

Destination Preparation:

  1. Talk with teens about the changes they will experience and some successful strategies for navigating them, particularly coping and relational skills.
  2. Help them plan ahead for ways to meet new people and reassure them that it takes time and trust to build new friendships. What are their “must haves” in a true friend? The most common derailer for young people after the launch is loneliness, whether they are on a college campus or living at home while their friends go off to college.
  3. Teach them time management and organization strategies. All too soon they’ll be managing their own schedules with loads of distractions. Equip them for this challenge.
  4. Point out that they’ll have to earn the right to be heard, respected, and granted privileges; they’re not “entitled” to any of that. Encourage them to apply their best efforts in every arena and be a standout in terms of character, teamwork, and work ethic.

Relationship Preparation:

  1. Build an enduring relationship that will transition from parent-child to adult-young adult. Carefully monitor your “relationship capital” with your teen. (Do you have a positive or negative balance in your “account?”) Time your delicate conversations strategically when they’re willingly engaged.
  2. Discuss communication expectations for after they leave home. If your young adult will be away at college, how often will you expect to hear from each other and under what circumstances? If he/she will still be living at home, what will be the new, more “adult” boundaries and expectations now that he/she is no longer a high school student? Being realistic and respectful on both sides is the key.
  3. Consider a weekly meeting at a coffee shop (neutral territory) to discuss the upcoming transition. Go through a book together that can help raise pertinent questions and guide your conversations, such as What I Wish I Knew at 18 by Dennis Trittin (LifeSmart Publishing). Third party voices are especially powerful at this time.

Transition Preparation:

  1. If you haven’t already, begin to incrementally release control by allowing more decision-making freedom and holding back on correcting, reminding, and overly “helping.” This is the time for you to move from driver to passenger seat in your teen’s life.
  2. Speak positively about your expectation of their success and your unwavering belief in them. Avoid too much talk of “losing my baby” or anticipating out loud the tremendous sense of loss you will feel; this can erode their confidence and lead to feelings of guilt over leaving home.
  3. Celebrate a rite of passage to mark the transition between childhood and adulthood, such as a simple ceremony, special gift, or letter of affirmation. We aren’t always good about this in American culture, but it can help tremendously in terms of empowering young adults and releasing them with blessing and confidence into the next season of their lives.

Importantly, seek to understand your graduate’s feelings about the impending changes he or she will be experiencing, often alternating between anticipation and apprehension. Don’t take it personally if they want to spend more time with friends before they head off to their destination. They may vacillate between wanting to cling to the last moments of childhood, and wanting to rush headlong into the “freedom” of adulthood.

Give them space either way. There will be plenty of opportunities for dialogue in “real time” as they encounter the pressures and responsibilities of adult life. This last summer at home, if navigated strategically, can pave the way for those future conversations as parents build a strong relational foundation with their young adult. That’s a win for everyone!

 

 

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The Launch of “The Launch!”

Launch Cove Web Res

Great news!  My new book on parenting teens is here! Co-authored by What I Wish I Knew at 18 author Dennis Trittin and myself, Parenting for the Launch: Raising Teens to Succeed in the Real World is now available for you to order, just in time for Christmas.

We never envisioned writing a parenting book when we began collaborating on What I Wish I Knew at 18. But, through our work with educators, counselors, business leaders, employers, and families, we regularly hear feedback about the training today’s kids are not getting, and what’s needed—from the perspectives of those receiving the kids we are raising – i.e., employers, schools, colleges, and youth organizations.

Click here for sample of Introduction, Chapter One, and Video Trailer

As part of parent communities ourselves, we’re also keenly aware of the emotions and concerns that surround the launching and releasing of our children into society—out of our arms and into the real world. Questions about whether we’ve covered the bases, built an enduring relationship, and set them up for a smooth transition keep us awake at night! All of these reasons are precisely why we wrote Parenting for the Launch. Here’s how you can order:

Click to order

Or call 1-800-BOOKLOG

Use coupon code P4TL

only $12.99 (regularly $18.95)

now through December 31, 2013.

It’s our joy and privilege to serve other parents, who, like us, want to set their children up for every success in life. And, it’s an honor to help educators build stronger bridges with parents. We hope you enjoy the book, spread the word to others, and join us on our journey at www.parentingforthelaunch.com!

Coming Soon! Parenting for the Launch

Launch Cove Web Res

It’s been two and a half years since the release of What I Wish I Knew at 18 and, oh what an amazing time it’s been! We could never have envisioned the success and impact it has had. We have been humbled and awed as the book and its accompanying course have made their way into homes, schools, mentor programs, and around the world.

           

One of the surprising responses to What I Wish I Knew at 18 has been the resounding plea from parents, educators, businesses, mentor and faith organizations, and at-risk youth programs: Please write a book for parents!

           

Here’s why. Colleges and employers report that an alarming percentage of today’s high school graduates are ill equipped to handle the pressures and responsibilities of the real world. As our world is becoming more competitive, kids are often lacking the personal skills and qualities to succeed. The economic climate and job market are especially challenging these days, not to mention the cultural climate that offers innumerable distractions and potential de-railers that most of us never experienced (or even imagined!).

 

Many parents describe feeling isolated, ill-equipped and under-prepared, with kids who don’t appear be listening during this crucial time of life. They are anxious about their children leaving home and their relationships are often strained. At a time when parents want to become closer to their teens, they feel like they’re being pushed away in favor of other voices. These questions fill their thoughts:

 

1.     Have we covered the bases?

2.     How will our relationship change?

3.     Are they ready?

4.     Are we ready???

           

I collaborated on this project with Dennis (author of What I Wish I Knew at 18)  because we firmly believe agree that young adults today need more than head knowledge. They need a solid, comprehensive leadership foundation that will support them and enable them to make key decisions in these crucial years and beyond. This includes having a purposeful life perspective, solid character, strong personal disciplines, the ability to develop healthy relationships, career smarts, financial management skills, and the capacity to overcome adversity.

           

We believe, along with our spouses, that the first place this training needs to happen is in the home. Parents have a unique role in preparing their children for a successful launch to the real world. And, while there are many excellent parenting books out there, many focus on behavior and discipline without offering the complete picture of life readiness. 

 

So that’s why we put our heads (and computers) together to write Parenting for the Launch: Raising Teens to Succeed in the Real World. We hope it will inspire, equip, and encourage other parents with proven principles and innovative strategies to confidently navigate the later teen years, particularly in that strategic period leading up to the “launch.”

             

Parenting for the Launch is expected to be released in late October, 2013. Please help us grow our circle by “liking” our FB page and following us on Twitter! Help us spread the word by joining our Launch Team and sharing Parenting for the Launch with your friends, family, and associates. And if you’re not already on our email newsletter, you can sign up here.

You can pre-order Parenting for the Launch by clicking on this link:
http://www.atlasbooks.com/marktplc/03217.htm