As we approach the upcoming graduation ceremonies that our children look forward to so joyfully, many of us do so with pride, but also with a sense of apprehension. What will happen next? How will they do on their own? Are they ready for the next step?
For those making their way to college or from college to career, they may feel ready and eager to have a sense of independence and opportunity to do things their own way. And yet, they too may be worried or afraid.
This is a natural process. The transition from leaving the comfort and care of our families and the reality of becoming independent is an exciting, yet potentially challenging time. There are ways of easing this transition.
As a graduating student:
1. Gather information. What is coming next? Will it be to continue school, get a job,
take a break?
2. What are they prepared for? Do they need more training? To learn to manage
money? Life skills, such as self-care (laundry, cooking, shopping), time management?
3. Would an internship be important to gather experience?
4. Are basic skills needed to be ready for college courses?
5. Are the finances available to proceed, on the chosen course?
As a parent
1. Are you ready to let go? If not, who can you talk to or how can you come to terms
2. Have you discussed with your child what your role be, as they become an adult?
3. Do they want/need your help? Have you asked?
4. Are you and your child in agreement, as to what should come next, or do they want
something different than you want for them? How do you feel about that?
5. Are you facing an empty nest? Are you ready?
Life transitions can be scary, exciting, enlightening, challenging, or all of the above, but one thing is usually certain, they happen, whether we are ready or not. You don’t have to handle them alone. Find support from other parents, friends, family, school counselors, and therapists. Talk to your child, reach out to your community, ask for help if you need it. Embrace the moment. They only grow up once.
Melanie Masters M.A., LMFT is a disability specialist at Moorpark College and a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in Westlake Village, CA.
5655 Lindero Canyon Road, Suite 225, Westlake Village, CA 91362 805 364-4357