Will your teenager be graduating from high school soon? If so, you may be wondering how to put them on the path to independence. It can be easy to pressure your child into doing one thing or another. So be sure to advise them but ultimately it is their decision to make!
Here are five ways to steer them on the right path for their life after graduation:
1. Ask Questions
Before you can start your child down any path, you’ve got to ask questions. Where do they see themselves six months from now? What about five years from now? What about ten years from now? If you can get an idea of how your child pictures their life in the future, you can better guide them down the right path. Without this important conversation, you run a very real risk of steering them down a path that you wish you had taken for yourself, losing sight of the fact that this is their life, not your own.
One obvious option for your graduating senior is to move on to college. If they are interested in college, but a bit unsure if it’s the right choice, sit down and find out what thoughts they are having. Explain how college can teach them to be independent, put them on the path to a career and even expand their social circle. If you went to college, share some of your fondest memories with your child.
3. Choosing a Major
If they make the decision to attend college, don’t pressure them to choose a major unless they ask for your opinion. No matter what major your child chooses, they will have to take a core set of courses first. Most of these general education courses can be applied to any major they choose.
If they do express interest in a specific field, encourage them to discuss their choice with you. If, for instance, your child tells you he or she is thinking of majoring in business, find out why. Will a business major be the best option for your their future career plans? If not, offer ideas for other educational paths that may be better suited to their plans.
If your child expresses an interest in joining the military, try not to let your fears quash their dreams. It’s natural for any parent to become anxious at the thought of their child joining the military. Now, however, is not the time to put your foot down and refuse to let them go. Find out why they have an interest in the military and be supportive. The military may not have been the path you chose, but time in the military can be incredibly beneficial and provide your child with fantastic opportunities as well as structure.
Many times they may not have an exact direction right out of high-school. After you’ve exhausted the resources at home, it may be time to enlist the help of a professional. High school counselors can help them navigate what they really want to do with their future. A college counselor or a military recruiter may be able to give your child more information as well. As a parent, it’s up to you to give them access to all of the information available with which they can make an informed decision with regards to their future.
If you have a child that will soon be graduating from high school, it’s time to begin helping them think about their future. The world is wide open to them; help them find their path!
Author Kenny Alvarez is an advisor to military applicants and also writes for militaryeducation.org, a site which explores military schools and all the secondary education benefits to veterans and their dependents; for instance check out this information on coast guard scholarship programs.