Practical Tips for Parenting High School Seniors
For parents who have high school seniors, the thought of them living on their own next year at college can be scary, especially if you worry about their ability to be independent. Obviously not all adolescents are ready to move out right after high school. However, many will do so, whether they are actually prepared to do so or not.
To help your high school senior increase their ability to be independent, here are some suggestions:
- Give your child a weekly or monthly budget for money that they can spend to go out to eat and do things that you would not realistically pay for on a regular basis. If they are attending college in the fall, chances are meal plans will be prepaid so the main unpredictable expenses they would have next year would be going off campus to eat or buying items such as clothes and toiletries. Many teens have little sense of how much these things cost when you add up spending over the course of a week or month. You could put a set amount of money on a refillable card for them, let them use a debit account, or set a limit on a credit card. Encouraging them to track their spending with an app such as Mint would be helpful so they can understand their spending habits.
- Have your teen do their own laundry. In college they will likely have to do this themselves.
- Let your teen change their own sheets. It’s amazing how many college students have never changed their own sheets and often forget to do this during the semester.
- Give your teen more autonomy with keeping on top of assignments, but if they are struggling, seek professional assistance for them or help them to setup plans themselves that they can follow. Constantly reminding your teen about their homework now may help this year, but is likely not going to be a good tool in college.
There are many things that you can do to help your teen become more independent before college. I hope these tips help get you thinking of how you can make the most of your child’s senior year in helping them to be prepared to be independent next year.
Copyright 2016 Carey A. Heller, Psy.D.
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*Disclaimer: The previous information is intended as general guidance based on my professional opinion, does not constitute an established professional relationship, and should not replace the recommendations of a psychologist or other licensed professional with whom you initiate or maintain a professional relationship*