Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘empty nest’

My daughter at graduation

Sunday marked a milestone as my youngest child graduated high school. While I knew this day would be filled with mixed emotions, I also knew I had done my best to prepare my daughter, and previously her two older brothers, for this new chapter. High school graduation marks a significant achievement, not only for the graduate, but also for those who have helped them to this point. When I became a parent nearly 25 years ago, I realized my responsibility was to help ensure my children had received the skills and guidance necessary to fly from my nest when the time came. I can proudly say that both my sons have done fairly well and I have no doubt my daughter will as well.

I have been fortunate to have children who did not struggle much, if at all, with school. In fact, my daughter was the valedictorian of her class and my older son graduated from college a few years ago with Summa Cum Laude distinction. My younger son has to work a little more in school. He is more hands on and mechanically inclined, so I don’t worry too much about him. He will be able to use these skills since he is pursuing an engineering degree. College certainly isn’t for everyone, there are other options for higher education besides a traditonal 4-year institution. There are lots of things to consider when determining what option is right for someone and just because someone may choose not to pursue higher education immediately out of high school, does not mean they cannot at a later time.

My daughter and two sons at her graduation

In order for children to grow in their confidence and competence, they must be given opportunities to use their current skills and knowledge, as well as to learn new ones. Stepping aside and allowing your children to make mistakes takes a lot of reserve and discipline. As parents, we want nothing more than for our children to succeed and to do so with minimal hardships. While this is a lofty notion, it is virtually impossible for children to develop many of the necessary skills and abilities to navigate the real world without stumbling along the way. Of course I am talking about small everyday stumbles, like being late to school due to oversleeping. Our children still need us for those bigger things. Letting them experience the consequences of their actions or decisions for those everyday things can teach them valuable “life” lessons and perhaps help them to avoid more serious issues later.

Here are a few tips from Dr. Bhargava to prepare your teens for the next step:

  1. Change your focus.
  2. Avoid quick fixes.
  3. Give your child the freedom to fail.
  4. Promote independence.
  5. Make collegeĀ  or training decisions together.
  6. Ask about mental health support on campus or at their job.

As my daughter prepares to head off to college in August, like her brothers before her, I will continue to support her and encourage her as she makes those final decisions over the summer. I will make sure she knows that while she may be flying from the nest, no matter where in life her wings take her, I will always be here for her.

Author: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu

Read Full Post »