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Tips for Parents of High School Seniors – Preparing for What’s Next

Tips for Parents of High School Seniors – Preparing for What’s Next

High schoolers around the country are studying for finals, sending out graduation announcements, ordering their caps and gowns, and anxiously awaiting the moment they’ll walk across the stage and receive their high school diploma. “You did it,” you’ll want to shout, knowing it won’t be long before your “baby” prepares to move out on their own for the first time.

As happy as everyone is to see their child achieve this significant life milestone, preparing them for the next chapter – whether that’s college, the military, or taking on a full-time job in another city, will be both exciting and terrifying. By the time graduation rolls around, most parents understand a shift in our relationship with our children is a critical next step. Yet, it’s during this emotional roller coaster; we are required to do some of our best and most valuable parenting. Here are a few tips to help guide you, and keep your grad safe, along this journey.

Making memories that last a lifetime

For many high school seniors, graduation means celebrating in a big way such as taking a trip with friends. Kids today dream big, and you want nothing more than for them to see the world (gulp). Helping them start to navigate parent-free travel is key to their independence and success as young adults – no matter how much it ramps up your worry meter. If your grad is planning to travel alone (with friends) this summer:

  • Make sure they have a plan, and you know every detail of it – including everyone who is going on the trip, their contact information and their parents’ phone numbers.
  • Make sure they have cell phone service no matter where they are going. An international phone plan should part of the overall-travel budget.
  • Know their exact itinerary and have them check in along the way – especially if they are going on a cruise or visiting different locations. An easy way to do this is to download a location tracking / peer-to-peer app so you can track their location even overseas, and they can readily check in with you throughout the trip.
  • Insist on having phone numbers and confirmation numbers for all lodging and transportation.
  • In many countries, the drinking age is 18 or younger. Make sure your grad knows the local drinking age for their vacation destination. Remind your grad about the dangers of alcohol, and not to accept drinks from anyone who isn’t part of their travel group. Also, never drink out of a glass or container that you didn’t see being poured or opened (or you opened yourself).
  • Remind them NEVER to get in the car with a stranger (or someone whom they just met) – not even to share a taxi. It’s not worth the savings to risk putting yourself into a potentially dangerous situation.

For more information on how to keep your grad safe before heading off to college, go to