Facing Fears Around Graduation Time and Growing Up

Spring is a beautiful season, but it can be a filled with anxiety and anticipation for your kids. This can be especially true for kids who are gearing up to make important life decisions.

They may be choosing where they want to go to college or maybe they’re about to graduate, which as exciting as that is, it also means there are new and unknown challenges that follow.

Or maybe your kids have finished their studies and are looking at beginning a new stage of life — being adults and getting “real” jobs.

The pressure kids are under to perform well is enormous. Like it or not, standardized testing plays a large role in where they’re able to go for advanced education; if they even can afford to or want to in the first place.

While it’s tough enough in the United States, it can be even more intense in other countries. In places like Japan and Germany, how well a child does in elementary school will determine whether or not they’ll be able to go be on to a University. And this is for kids in the public school system. For most American kids, there’s a bit more flexibility built into the system.

Yet even for kids who do well in school, whether it’s high school or college, there are pressures and fears about the future. They face interviews and judgment, being accepted or rejected by professors and future employers. On top of that, they must come to a level of confidence in the choices they’re making.

This is a great opportunity for you to help your kids get ready for their future. Not by telling them what to do, but by supporting them in their questioning. You can help guide them and encourage them to check in with their Internal Guidance System (IGS) to see how these various choices feel.

When my daughter was graduating from University, she was concerned that the choices she was making might not lead to the lifestyle that she really wanted. Sometimes it’s possible overlook that in the flurry of studying and following a program, but it’s a very important consideration. How your son or daughter wants to live their life is actually even more important than many of the other decisions they make.

By asking them open-ended questions that help your kids explore their feelings, you can help them figure out how they want their future to feel. Whether they’re graduating, or just starting high school, it isn’t too early to help them begin this process. As with any other skill, practice makes things easier.

Another powerful gift you can give your kids is to remind them that the Universe responds to their emotions. To paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr., you don’t need to see the entire staircase, but you need to have the confidence to take the first step.

To be sure, there will be times in anyone’s life where they wonder if they took the right fork in the road or if the choice they’re making to accept or reject an opportunity will take them away from their life goal. There will be moments when both you and your kids recognize your lives could be better. It’s by following your feelings that you can be assured that you’re making the right decisions.

The great news is that it isn’t your job to be able to read the future as clearly as a list of classes or a map. And in reality, it’s a blessing that the future isn’t that clear, or you’d miss many of the adventures along the way. It’s your job to live each day and each moment as fully as you can. When your kids allow their IGS to serve as their compass, then they’re on the right path.

Please share your thoughts!



© 2015.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.

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