Your Daughter is Graduating – Time to Expand Boundaries

Graduating from high school is a big deal for your daughter…and she is expecting HUGE changes. For years, you told our daughter things like “you’re not old enough” or that something is “too mature” for them. You said these things to protect her from potentially harmful events or situations. You may have even referred to a later time when those things would be safe or appropriate. In her mind, that time has ARRIVED! Your daughter feels like the Gates of LIFE have opened to her. No more excuses and boundaries imposed by mom! Run FREEeee! {Freedom = Adulthood}

Your daughter considers herself free:

  • no more homework
  • no grades to report
  • later or no curfew
  • no need for parental approval of friends
  • no waking up early
  • and… in college, she can take the classes she wants

“I want I want I want. Me me me me. Mine mine mine mine. Now now now.” Sound familiar? This quote from Hook (Dustin Hoffman) is hidden in almost every word your graduating daughter says. Right?! Whether intentional or not, she is focusing on herself and her opportunities. How you interact with her during this time will shape the relationship as she enters adulthood.

Be INTENTIONAL – Take TIME to plan adjustments – and ENJOY this transition.

EXPAND BOUNDARIES… but mix with a good ratio of responsibility.

Boundary #1: MONEY
If you haven’t already done so… show her the car insurance, cell phone, and Direct TV bills. Many daughters consider these things “rights” not privileges. These totals won’t mean a lot until she gets her first job. Bringing up the next tip:
Encourage her to get a part time job. Making sandwiches for 5 hours straight will help her learn more than any money lecture we can give.
Give her a budget in which she can get all the stuff for her dorm room. Be realistic, but calculating, on the total amount. She might not get everything she wants… and that’s okay.

Boundary #2: TIME

  • Stop being the boss of her time. Let her create her own schedule.
  • Let her socialize! She will have real adult responsibilities soon enough.
  • Come to a clear understanding of her new curfew.
  • Make mutual decisions about adjustments to video and computer time (maybe eliminate restrictions – after all, she will be doing whatever she wants in her spare time at college.)
  • Arrange a casual sit-down talk and resist any urge to lecture or bring up the past. Add real-life responsibilities to her checklist, together. Laundry, bank account balancing, shared kitchen duties, etc.

Boundary #3: Communication

  • The Four Agreements book is one of my favorite books. I have given dozens as gifts. It might be cool to read with your daughter. The book says everything for you.

    • Be impeccable with your word
    • Don’t take anything personally
    • Don’t make assumptions
    • Always do your best
  • Back off, mom! No comments necessary. Choose your battles. Yes!… consider her safety and serious consequences. But, if she wants to shave a side of her hair or dye her hair pink, that’s okay! It’s just hair.

  • Ask the right questions, or none at all. Before you ask questions, consider the reason you are asking. Is it control? Is it fear? Are you just being nosy? Maybe the question doesn’t need asked. And, it goes without saying: Stop texting her all day.

Working with college students in higher education for almost a decade was a real cultural eye opener. Most college students get to college without any understanding of how to run a household. YES, their dorm and new independent life is like a little household: including expenses, stress, relationship issues, how to do laundry, and when to clean a sink.

Trust Trust Trust

Trust that you have taught her well. Trust that she is being honest. Trust that her mistakes will not be too big. Trust her judgment. And, above all, let her trust in the fact that you will always be there for her…unconditionally, and without judgment.

If you, or someone you know, would like help during this transition, please connect with me.