Parents are more critical than ever in getting their high schoolers ready for their futures

Your child’s future. Yes, they may be growing a mustache and hearing them calling you “MOM” in an abrupt “basso profundo” tone, only to continue in Pavarotti’s manner, “what’s for dinner?” elicits a profound observation; they are no longer your babies. Your child? Forever. Now, this young adult, to whom your unconditional love inherently belongs, might be merely a semester away from leaving the “womb” and getting to know the first contours of the “adult self.” Studies have shown that parents are more critical than ever in getting their high schoolers ready for their futures; so, how do we propel the subject of our boundless love to future heights?

Support pillars: layers and underlayers

All parents mean well, wish well and do the best they can. That’s what parents are to do, no? Yet, we need to understand the world we live in and how everything we have experienced directly affects and changes our perception, patience, and ability to adapt to quicksilver norms, aspirations, trends, and values. The world has had a couple of rough years.

However, as parents, we can’t afford shapeshifting. We need to stand our ground and be the person our children can rely on. The pandemic has induced involuntary quantum leaps in each and every one of us. Our young adults need a helping hand as they walk towards their future, and it’s our job to be right there beside them.

Where does it all begin?

From the moment you hold them in your arms for the first time, you know you will give your all for your child to have that “best life.” We push them, and they grow; we push, they grow, treading towards that end goal, that finish line. Unconditional love is the stem of every being’s healthy future, but we also need to focus on finding that perfect balance when it comes to being their support pillars. If we let our young adults overindulge in that helping hand, there is a risk of excessive procrastination, lack of assertiveness, or developing negative traits of a narcissist. On the other hand, “pushing” them too far can also become potentially unhealthy. If a parent is to expose the young adult to harsh criticism during their childhood, there might be grave consequences as it impairs the now young adult’s self-esteem, thus irretrievably impacting their entire future. Fine lines.

You’re not helping when

We want them to succeed, to thrive. Let’s say we have this young adult who wishes to pursue a career in science. Their parents want the best college for their child, so they push relentlessly, Machiavelli style; they compare the young adult to their peers, focusing exclusively on their failures. This triggers shame, guilt, low self-esteem, and self-worth. Feeling pressured, the young adult could either fail getting into college, or they could start evaluating their whole self-worth based on perpetual success, meaning they must never fail in order not to disappoint. Ever. Healthy? Supportive?

Young man sitting in a booth with a laptop depicts how parents are more critical than ever in getting their high schoolers ready for their futures

Mistakes and how to avoid them

Young adults are gentle creatures; they need reassurance more than anything. Overt criticism can lead to negative self-image and belief systems, leaving them doubting their abilities pertaining to all relevant spheres in one’s life. This future surgeon needs a supportive family structure – it is their load-bearing walls and beams. So, how do we obtain a healthy relationship?

We say no to:

  • Changing schools frequently as it leads to an underdeveloped sense of safety and belonging
  • Demanding all A’s as it leads to pressure, anxiety, fear, shame, and guilt if unsuccessful
  • Emotional blackmail; physical or emotional abuse as an incentive to get better at school/behavior and grades
  • Using “contacts” at school to fix better grades for your child; it will impede their sense of self-achievement
  • School and no social life; social interaction is a sign of a healthy young adult; depriving them of friends might severely impact their social abilities in college

Unforeseen circumstances

It’s true; parents are more critical than ever in getting their high schoolers ready for their futures. What does it mean? You have to be an octopus. Omni-present and devoted, ever-ready for incoming shifts, transitions, and sudden changes. Abrupt (or even planned) moving could pull the rug from under your feet; relocating causes familial disbalance, but if you keep an open channel of communication and talk them through this, you exhibit what an award-winning parenting approach should be.

A woman holding a teenage boy

We say yes to:

  • Open communication between parents and young adults
  • Understanding and supporting their aspirations through constructive criticism
  • Providing necessary guidance when needed (preferably when asked for)
  • Family time – spending quality time together could bring accumulated misunderstandings to a solution
  • Listening without interrupting
  • Endorsing hobbies, workshops, new experiences
  • Building trust

College 101

The young adult stands on their parents’ doorstep, saying, “see you soon.” Now, that’s one ikebana of emotions. Having them move upstate or cross-country as a step towards that “best life” you’ve always wanted for them is absolute horror without any euphemisms. Practically and emotionally speaking. As experts from Ben Hur Moving & Storage NYC advise, hiring a professional mover alleviates the practical side of saying goodbye to your baby. Young adult, pardon. As for emotions – it will take some time.

1, 2, step

Yes, parents are more critical than ever in getting their high schoolers ready for their futures. But they will be off soon. On their way. The little art director to be, or a broker, lawyer, glassblower, soap maker. The moment they’re out that door, that’s your cue to start being present. Constructively present, not I’m-stalking-you-on-campus-pretend-not-to-see-me present. Big difference. College is about the freedom to find and lose yourself, maybe more than once. Absolutely more than once. Give them that freedom. Support it wholeheartedly; it will give back. There is no speed dialing in the middle of the night, no grades inquisitions – are you studying; what are you studying?! No. Be there, but give them space. Young adults are mini-adults; have trust in your parenting and all the values you have implemented throughout the years. Believe that they can make you proud, and they will.

3 students sitting with laptops, laughing

We’re here for you

Not knowing what the future holds for our children sounds daunting; now, there are ways to get control over that fear (control has its positive sides, too!) By visiting, the free go-to-resource for career exploration, you will learn everything there is to know about jobs and careers previously mentioned. You will get a more detailed insight into job descriptions and their requirements with just a click. It’s that easy., and you’re already halfway to living your best life.