Give It a Month

With graduating high schoolers headed off for new lives away from home, how parents can help their teens adjust.

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Posted in , May 13, 2015

Young woman at college. (Thinkstock)

May is the beginning of graduation season. And for many high schoolers, that means in a few short months they'll be entering college and a new life away from home. Is your teen nervous about the upcoming change? Here's some advice on helping her deal with that transition:

My son’s eyes filled with tears as I said goodbye. It was his birthday and after spending his first week at college, he was having doubts about attending the university he’d been talking about for the previous year.

I didn’t want to leave him there, but this was what he had been working hard toward the last four years in high school. What was supposed to be an exciting time for both of us became a time of uncertainty. He hated everything about it: his roommate, his classes, and his lack of friends. A week later, I received a phone call from him telling me he wanted to come home.

“Honey, give it one month,” I said. “And if you feel the same way, you can come home and attend our local university.”

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I knew if that if he could get through the newness and unknowns, he’d be okay and would want to stay. I was right. After a few weeks, he’d worked out his classes and was doing fine with them. He’d made a lot of great friends who would end up being his friends through the rest of college and into his adult life. I don’t know, though, if things ever worked out with the roommate.

Four years after his first week of college, he received a job offer to teach English to toddlers in Czech Republic for one year. A week after he was there, I received another phone call. He wanted to come home.

“Honey, give it one month,” I said. “And if you feel the same way, you can come home.” He stayed the entire year, made more new friends, and traveled throughout Europe. He had a wonderful and memorable time because, once again, he gave it some time.

Do you have a teen son or daughter who is graduating from high school and heading to college in the fall or taking a new job away from home? Are they nervous that they won’t like it?

Here are a few suggestions:

1)  Reassure your child that it’s normal to feel anxious about college and all the uncertainties of a new adventure.

2)  Encourage your daughter or son to stick it out for one month. If they still feel the same way after 30 days, then discuss alternatives that will make them feel self-confident.

3)  Is there a local university or community college that they can attend? Is it the school they are having problems with or is it something specific that can easily be fixed? Routines are important for all of us to feel secure and it usually takes about a month to feel comfortable in new place or job.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

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