Wow. A lot of potential blog topics were presented on last night’s Glee episode, Asian F. The one that stuck with me was how they portrayed the pressure the seniors in the New Directions are under. Pressure to make their mark at school, pressure to find out who they really are, pressure to get accepted into the best college, pressure to pick a career path. Watching Rachel, Kurt, Finn, and Brittany struggle with these issues brought up memories of my own senior stressors. Ugh…it wasn’t pretty.
So how can you assist the high schoolers in your life keep things in perspective?
Focus on relationships. In last night’s episode, Kurt reminded us that it’s not all about accomplishments, but that friendships and treating folks right is important too. Making and keeping friends, building relationships with mentors, and learning how to successfully interact with others is a crucial part of high school – even though you won’t earn a grade.
There are multiple ways to get there. Have a child who yearns to be a singer? Let her know that there are lots of ways to make that happen. Enrolling in a music conservatory, majoring in music at the local college, or simply singing in the church choir are all ways to incorporate music into her life. The idea that she HAS to get into one school or program in order to achieve her dreams is a good way to reach stress overload.
Life is long. Luckily, most of us live fairly long lives. This means that we have plenty of time to make mistakes, try lots of things, and change our minds a time or two. Very few 17 year olds know what they want to do with their lives, and that’s OK! Try to maintain a sense of adventure and openness with your children rather than forcing them to make decisions before it’s developmentally or emotionally appropriate.
Don’t get too attached. It’s easy as a parent to become attached to ideas our children bring up. Your son mentions he would like to be a doctor and you assume that will be his reality. But remember, his job is to change his mind and try out new ideas. Go with the flow and don’t cling to any idea too hard. It will drive you both crazy.
Do you know a high school senior frantically trying to bulk up their credentials to get into college? Know any who are struggling to figure out who they are and what’s important to them? How do you help them cope?