GREENSBORO, N.C. — With Triad high school seniors graduating in a couple of weeks, many are deciding what’s next after graduation. High school graduates choose different paths. Some choose to go to college; others choose the workforce, while others aren’t sure what to do.
It can frustrate parents when their graduates seem unmotivated and comfortable doing nothing. Parents can see the future for the graduate as broke and with their hands out. For the graduate, they might think that they have all the time in the world. They might want to take a break after graduating to rest and recuperate. Parents have life experience that their graduate doesn’t yet have. Parents know it can take a while to find a job, get experience, and get a specific salary to make ends meet. Their different approaches can cause friction.
Have conversations about what’s behind the lack of motivation. What’s going on with them? Don’t accept dismissive answers like “nothing” or “you wouldn’t understand.” Explain that you want to understand so you can be helpful. Graduates may not realize that parents aren’t legally obligated in North Carolina to provide for them once they’re adults. Once the conversation starts, help them solve what’s holding them back. They’re often worried or scared about something but don’t want to share what’s on their mind. Also, explore their interests, and give ideas based on what you see and the strengths you see in them. Let them know that they deserve more than sitting at home doing nothing.
Here are suggestions if your graduate continues to resist. One of the most challenging things for parents is to give a dose of tough love. This means that you have to have consequences that they may not like. For example, you could provide them the option to pay some rent and a portion of the bills if they continue living with you. You decide what you’re willing to pay for and not pay for. Give timelines of your
expectations and the consequences. As hard as it can be, high school graduates have to be independent. With your love and guidance, they can do it. They just might need a bit of strong encouragement.
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