As your child approaches high school graduation, they will be transitioning to additional adult responsibilities & life on their own at college. Although they will likely be excited, they will have also have some uncertainty and questions. What will life be like on their own? Will they be able to handle it? Will they fit in? Will they be able to make friends? Can they make the grades needed? The list of potential concerns is long! This is a time when they really need their parents’ affirmation, love, and encouragement, as well as words of wisdom and support from key adults in their life.
Key Things for Parents to Do for Their Child’s High School Graduation:
Your child’s high school graduation is a great time to host a two-part graduation celebration for a group of graduating kids & their parent(s). This is a more formal & significant occasion where EACH child is celebrated & offered wise counsel from EACH of the other parents in attendance (could be moms, dads, or both). Parents will share the importance of consistently making wise choices (one poor choice can ruin, or end, their life), as well as the importance of discipline, hard-work, & perseverance. It is also time to have another one on one talk as parent & child about the impact on their life of how they handle friends, dating, alcohol, & money.
PART 1 – SPECIAL DINNER FOR GROUP OF PARENTS & GRADUATING KIDS: Invite a group of parents & graduating kids who know each other well to a nice dinner out, to mark this milestone for each of the graduates.
- When you (or whomever is the organizing host) invites other parents to participate, ask that each be willing to write a special, customized letter to EACH of the high school graduates who will be there (not just to their own graduate).
- Once at the dinner, the host parent will welcome everyone & describe the significance of High School Graduation for these kids – e.g. that this is an important milestone event, celebrating your child’s transition from being a teenager to being a young adult.
- The host will begin by reading the letter they wrote to their graduate (described below) in front of the others, followed by EACH of the other parents reading the letter they wrote about the same graduate.
- Then the next parent will read the letter they wrote about their graduate, followed by EACH of the other parents in attendance reading the letter they wrote about that graduate. This continues until all of the graduates have heard each letter written to them from each of the parents.
- Close it by thanking everyone for being there, not just tonight, but over the years. Inform the graduates that this is a group of friends & mentors who they can come to in the future if they ever need anything.
PART 2 – PARTY FOR KIDS AND THEIR FAMILIES: Party at one of the family’s homes where the other members of the families will be waiting for you, your graduate, and the other parents & kids who were at dinner together, to join them in celebrating the graduation.
- The parents invited to the dinner should be able to offer each graduate in attendance sincere praise, observations regarding things they have seen them do in life. They should also be able to offer sound wisdom for their college years (see TrailmapForLife.com website for additional perspective & ideas).
- For the letter from parent to graduate – tell them:
- How much you love them.
- Describe that they are now transitioning into adulthood & provide some perspective & specific examples about what you have seen in them over these past 18 years & why it makes you proud of them.
- How they have what it takes to make it successfully through college & in life.
- Let them know that there are increasing levels of responsibility & behavior that are acceptable and fitting of an adult. Although they’ll still make mistakes, you love them, you are proud of them, & you are going to help train them along the path to life on their own.
- Describe in detail their strengths, special talents, & abilities…and describe how those will benefit them in life.
- Talk about the importance of staying on God’s path throughout their college years & life and how it will help them avoid many of life’s biggest challenges.
Crucial Training Your High School Graduate Needs For Life
High school graduation is a key time as a parent to consider whether or not your child has the skills & training required to successfully navigate life. For me, both on my own, and as a parent, I had seen numerous people experience major problems in one or more key areas and it affected all aspects of their life in a negative way. As I contemplated the ramifications on those people’s lives, as well as the training required for my own kids to avoid many of those same pitfalls, I ultimately chose to leave a long and successful career in the corporate world to develop a non-profit life-skills program that parents & teens do together. It is called Trailmap for Life because it helps each of them learn the best practices to successfully manage life’s 10 most important topics. Some of the most important topics that we cover include: Dating, alcohol, drugs, friends, character, managing money & time well, their core priorities, and last but not least, using their unique talents in a meaningful way throughout life. The program includes 10 life-changing sessions (60-90 minutes each) that you can do online or via the Trailmap For Life app (anytime, anywhere). We offer versions for single & dual parent families with kids ages 10 & up (we also offer the same program for fathers & sons, fathers & daughters, mothers & sons, mothers & daughters). It will be one of the most powerful experiences you have ever had as a family (additional information is provided below).
We hope you found this article helpful – it is part of the Trailmap For Life
set of resources to help parents
& kids (ages 11 & up) successfully navigate life
. Trailmap For Life offers interactive video programs parents & kids do together. There are 10 online life-skills sessions
that cover the 10 most important topics in life.
Each session takes about an hour to complete, but can change your child’s life forever
by equipping them with secrets of success in managing life’s most important topics
. Our team spent over 5 years identifying and developing best practices for navigating life,
in order to make it easy for busy parents to prepare their kids for life on their own. For more information about Trailmap For Life or to register for a program, CLICK HERE
All sessions are available 24/7 online
& or smartphone
) & are designed for parents & kids to go through together, either on your own
, or as part of a small
or large group (each monthly session lasts 1-1.5 hours)
. Regardless of which option you choose, no prep work is required
! Participating with a small group of parents & similar-aged kids adds an additional benefit of sharing this life-changing experience with friends. The user-friendly website
makes everything easy (even hosting a small or large group is simple)
, with powerful videos
, & life-skills activities
that make it fun & easy to go through the program. We hope that you will join us for the adventure of a lifetime! Click here to or call us at (800) 210-6075 to learn more!
10 Session Life Skills Course - 10 Topics To Get Right:
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10 interactive-video sessions that lead parents & kids through life's core topics such as: money, dating, character, friends, faith, peer pressure, family, & time management.
Each session includes a 25-minute video that guides you through key principles for each topic, including activities that make it fun & effective.
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