I’ve finished school, now what…
The end of a school career is a stressful time for a parent. Even more than for their children sometimes!
First, they are very nervous about whether their children will receive their school certificate, then they worry about the higher education their children will enter in or the work path they will choose. To add to all this they might also have an overall anxiety about their children’s future and success.
When furthermore, they have an aloof teenager that is not too sure what he or she wants to do and is not really worried about it, all the apprehension and anxiousness can skyrocket very quickly to new heights.
Rather than hyperventilating about the whole issue though, there are some things you can do, as a parent, to help your child find his way into the new world opening to him.
Here are 3 things that will help:
Release the pressure and give them a time-out!
Most parents I meet don’t give it a rest. They are so worried that their children won’t rise up to the stakes, that they are constantly on their children’s back. However, the natural reaction when we are nagged about something is to resist and this is exactly what some of these children are doing by not finding a direction, they are unconsciously resisting.
Giving them a time-out from the constant nagging and worry can completely change the dynamic you have and give them space to understand what they want to do with their life. And if they don’t find it straight away, it’s okay too, after all, it’s not because school is finished that they need to dive into anything right this very minute… Give them some time to breathe and enjoy life away from responsibilities.
Tap into their strengths and interests
It sometimes annoys us that teenagers only think about their music, video games, tv series, sports, skateboarding,… And often you will hear parents say things like: “When are you going to grow up, be more mature and do more important things!” Well, I tend to disagree. Rather than trying to lead them out of what they are interested in, why not tap right into it! There is a wealth of information right there that is waiting for us to dig in.
For example the sport your child plays can tell you if he is a team player or prefers solo endeavors, if he is a leader or a builder. The TV series he watches can give you huge insights in his interests. Talking about these interests with them can open up a whole array of opportunities that they might not have thought of and could very well lead them to find what they want to do.
Don’t put roadblocks before they’ve even started
As adults, we have a less idealistic view of the world than teenagers. We have been confronted by some of its challenges and believe we have a more accurate view of what is realistic and what is not. However, when we give some of this wisdom to our children, we don’t always go about it the right way and we may hinder their hopes and dreams before they even start giving them shape.
Let them be wild in their dreams and support these dreams. At some point they will get back on their feet and they will be responsible adults, but for now, they need to get carried away and inspired by these dreams.
And who knows… with your support they might even turn something you thought unrealistic into reality!
Most importantly, through it all, trust that your child has everything he needs to find the right path for himself or herself. And trust yourself too! You have provided your child with the tools he needs to make the right choices throughout his whole life. So, take a deep breath and let him show you that he can take over.