May 19, 2016
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.
Graduation season is upon us. Your child will soon be leaving home, attending a college or university, or joining the workforce. Although your student may be showing signs of excitement and glee on the outside, often times your child is also experiencing doubt, fear and nervousness on the inside. Did they make the right choice for college? What happens if they do not like their major? What will happen if something goes wrong at home while they are away? These are all common thoughts running through your graduate’s head.
Dr. Jesse Van Heukelom, a board-certified pediatrician at HRMC Physicians Clinic, has some tips to help you communicate more effectively with your teenager about their goals, hopes and feelings. “The key to communicating with your child about the upcoming changes in their life is trust. Your child needs to be able to trust you with the information they are bringing you.”
Parents should also be looking for signs of depression with their teen. Your teen is leaving home, family and friends. Your graduate’s world is shifting. Depression is a very real possibility for your teen post-graduation. It’s also important to remember to talk to your teen about social media. Social media is a wonderful tool for connecting with family and friends. However, not everything you see online is real. Remind your teen that what they are seeing online, is not the entire story, but simply an excerpt from someone’s life.
This is also the danger season for teen drinking. Poor decision-making is a side effect of consuming alcohol and your teen is at risk. Alcohol in your teen’s system can cause poor coordination, impaired judgment, confusion and depression. Dr. Jesse says, “even one beer or one shot of alcohol can cloud the judgment enough and something unforeseeable could happen.”
Even one drink of alcohol could seriously influence your child’s future plans. Is your child attending college or a university on an athletic scholarship? Does your child have the future hope of becoming a law enforcement officer or public servant? Drinking alcohol could potentially destroy those possibilities. Being open, honest and non-judgmental with your child could help save their futures. Dr. Jesse wants to remind parents that by keeping the lines of communication open with your child, you have the ability to help them avoid a terrible mistake like drinking and driving. Your child needs to be unafraid to call you for a sober and safe ride if they have been consuming alcohol.
To build trust with your teen and to help keep your communication lines open, follow these steps below:
- Practice what you preach: building trust is similar to leadership. If the leader does the right thing, the people he or she is leading will follow.
- Learn to listen: let your child communicate openly with you. Do not use judgmental statements or come to the discussion with your own agenda.
- Promises should not be broken: don’t make promises you can’t keep. This will destroy the trust you’ve been building with your teen.
The key to helping your child through graduation, the next chapter and the temptation to use alcohol is to remind them that they are not alone. Keep communication lines clear and encourage them to enjoy and embrace the coming changes in their life. Congratulations to you and your graduate on this exciting time!
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