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Preparing Your High School Senior: Senior Year Tips for Parents and Teens

Your senior’s high school career is coming to an end. The last months of senior year are loaded with anticipation. Parents are racing to prepare their kids for the world. Meanwhile seniors in high school feel like they have earned the right to ignore their obligations. So what should a worried parent and a carefree (or care-less) high school senior do? When handled well, the end of senior year can become a launching pad for navigating the challenges that will likely arise after high school.

3 Senior Year of High School Tips:

1. Collaborate on adult responsibilities.

Graduating high school is a rite of passage that represents more than just academic achievement. Newly minted graduates are suddenly expected to assume adult privileges and responsibilities. The final few months of senior year are a great opportunity for parents and high school seniors to identify the everyday skills that seniors will need next year. And they can begin preparing by sharing these responsibilities:

  • Choose one bill that your teenager will start paying this summer
  • Have your teenager handle their laundry

2. Focus on getting organized and managing stress.

One of the biggest challenges facing most new students and hires is managing their time and the accompanying stress that comes with new responsibilities. Now is a great time to focus on those skills and habits:

  • Put planned events on calendars
  • Create checklists
  • Practice self-soothing techniques to cope with stress
  • Model how you handle challenging situations
  • Discuss how you manage the stress.

3. Practice expectation management.

Many teenagers believe that after high school, the doors of opportunity fling open. They intellectually understand that success won’t be automatic. But they still hope for straight A’s in college, a quick promotion at the new job, and fast and deep new friendships. When the inevitable obstacles hit next year, your teenager may have difficulty navigating challenges. A senior year tip: Take advantage of the next few months to:

  • Anticipate and highlight obstacles that your senior will likely face.
  • Help them understand the skills they already have to overcome these challenges.
  • Build additional skills they will need.

Most importantly, enjoy the ride together and make sure they graduate … into adulthood!

Isaiah Pickens, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and founder of iOpening Enterprises, a creative writing company that creates books, films, and life skills curricula for teens and young adults.

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