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Friday, May 4, 2007

Graduation Stressors

It’s time for graduation. Within the next few weeks high schools and colleges around the Tri-County area will celebrate this joyous ceremony. Unfortunately, this life passage is rarely addressed in mental health literature, leaving families and graduates unprepared for the emotions involved in the transition. It is certain that both the graduate and the graduation family face new challenges, as well as anxiety and fears.

What are some of the common concerns of graduating seniors?
• Seniors face long term consequences are related to choices concerning college, career decisions, and making it on their own in an uncertain world.
• Seniors worry about parent’s expectations, picking a college major or choosing the “right” job, financing college expenses.
• Seniors have concerns about losing close friends who are vital connections.
• Seniors have a generalized anxiety about the unknown after leaving the safety of the home environment.

What are some of the common concerns of the graduating family?
• Parents struggle with being “empty-nesters” and wonder what life will be like without focusing on their child.
• Many parents have financial concerns regarding the high cost of college in the 90’s, as well as struggling with the complexities of applying for scholarships and financial aid.
• Parents report that they fear not “being there” to assist their children, noting safety concerns, and lack of input into their student’s life in a culture, which is unpredictable.

What are some suggestions to ease this time period and the adjustment process?
• Realize it is a natural life passage as well as a grieving passage (from childhood into adulthood)
• Discuss fears and concerns with your child. Open the door to meaningful discussion
• Speak openly about finances and budgets. It is important that everyone understands the limitations of the availability of money.
• College discussions should include safety/self care issues. Discuss safety concerns such as walking alone at night, protective skills for self-care, and issues of alcohol and drug abuse. It is essential that discussion center around daily life management skills such as time management, budgeting checkbooks, overspending, nutrition and health, and the importance of attending classes.
• Focus on the “challenge” and realize this is an opportunity for everyone to learn new life skill lessons. Focus on the positive and the possibilities for personal growth.
• Express that you will “still be there” for each other, but in new ways
• Reach out and talk to others about this transition--gather support from other people who have experienced this transition.
• Be open with your heart. Express your appreciation and your sentimental side. Share feelings of pride and gratitude. Unfortunately, many of us are still waiting to hear those words of encouragement in our adulthood. This is a chance to give your children what you may not have received from your own parents.


Anonymous said...

cute graduate ;)

joymiller said...

Yes, this graduate is really a handsome guy!

josh said...

thank you for posting my fattest picture ever.