Many of you are coming to the realization that your kids are in a big transition going from high school to…their life. I was listening to Dennis Prager on the radio a number of years ago and he was talking about how high school graduation is the biggest change in a person’s life. He pointed out that it is the end of compulsory education and the end of an individual being told what they have to do.
Think about it for a moment and you will realize that he is right. From roughly the age of 5 through the age of 18, your child has been told that they have to go to school, what they have to take in school, and where to go to school and once they have graduated this is no longer true. A world of choices opens up to them and you are going to find that no one has to talk to you any more and no one even really wants to talk to you.
Now know that I am not saying this to be harsh. I have lived this and know it personally. The doctor doesn’t want to talk to you anymore; the school isn’t going to talk to you anymore and your son or daughter is going to have to take over. And as sad as it sounds, your job is to make yourself eventually obsolete in the role that you have been in for a long time.
If you work this well, however, you will find yourself more in the role of consultant rather than director and this can be a really rewarding and pleasant role. Your child has since birth been accepting more and more responsibility for themselves; I mean you’re not dressing them anymore nor cutting up their food for them. I want you to plan even more things for them to take on once they graduate. You are probably all in different places with your kids and I will throw out a few ideas that some of you may already be doing. Come up with some things that your son or daughter can take over paying for that you have been paying for up until now, for example clothing, entertainment, gasoline, cell phone, hair cuts, costs of putting a car on the road, and even college costs.
When talking to your son or daughter, help them to make decisions for themselves by listening to them and helping them to clarify their options, but leave the decision up to them. Don’t attempt to control them or force them to do what you think is the best choice. Education is not just attending school but plays out in so many other ways.
And please know that you remain important always in your son or daughter’s life; you just don’t continue to function in the same way.