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2 Your Well-Being: Navigating transitions after your child graduates

Parents and graduating students are likely to experience a wide range of emotions.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — We're right in the middle of graduation season. Thousands of Guilford County Schools' students will graduate at ceremonies this weekend. They're about to enter a whole new phase of life, whether they're going to college or going to work.

The transition can cause anxiety for parents and their children. Jessica Schlosberg, a licensed clinical social worker from Cone Health Outpatient Behavioral Health, explains how to make it easier for everyone. 

Schlosberg said it's normal for students graduating high school to feel anxiety. She said people sometimes have a hard time differentiating excitement from anxiety. She said parents can encourage their children to look at their transition with optimism and anticipation.

However, Schlosberg said it's important not to become overbearing. Someone's child may not feel totally comfortable expressing their concerns and talking through their feelings. She said parents should use reflections to get a better understanding of what their child feels. For example, they can talk about their experience graduating high school and how it impacted them.

Transitions may also affect parents. They might deal with "empty nest syndrome." Schlosberg said it's important to take a breath, and allow yourself to feel what you feel. 

"All of your feelings are legitimate. All of your feelings matter," Schlosberg said.

Before you know it, the kids that you sent off to college will be coming home for a break. Schlosberg said the norms of your relationship may look different as your child grows more independent. She said it's important to keep open communication. That way, everyone understands what's expected.

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