How to react to your Daughter - the High School to College Transition

Everyone is celebrating your daughter’s graduation from high school. Gift cards, cash, and cards arrive almost daily. But, what YOU are experiencing is far from a celebration. You’ve noticed a sh*t ton of changes in your relationship with your daughter. It can be like fulltime PMS. She’s sick of you… or, at least you feel like she is.

Starting sometime in the spring, you most likely started experiencing:

  • random outbursts
  • challenges to house rules
  • a general attitude that you are no longer needed
  • secretive behavior

These things can make you wonder if you are – or ever were – a good mom.

Let me tell you what’s really going on: the things she herself
may not even realize.

  1. In her mind, she IS an adult. Yes, that’s right… an adult. She wants all the “grown ups” in her life to see and treat her as an equal.
  2. She is afraid. Change is scary! Even the most outgoing or confident daughters are unsure of how to navigate the months leading to college.
  3. Newsflash: She wants to move away. This is a GOOD thing! We wanted to raise strong women, right?

How to react:

It’s time to LISTEN. One way to do this is to treat her like a “new friend.” When we meet new people, we listen… we do not interrupt and start teaching. It’s time to listen to our new friend.

Treat her ideas with RESPECT. She might be a little big for her britches right now… but you don’t need to correct her. Life will correct her.

INCLUDE her in bigger decisions – stop dictating and exclaiming. Seek and accept her input on as many things as you can that concern her. She needs to feel valued.

EXPLORE with her. If she chooses the fuchsia and black comforter for her dorm room, support that decision (even if you think she will get sick of it by Thanksgiving). Then, with enthusiasm, help her find all the fuchsia accessories to match.

LAUGH… a lot! She doesn’t have homework! That, in and of itself, is reason to be silly.

Everything will be okay!

It’s okay to change the house rules to match her new adult-ness. Let her stay out past midnight! She sure will when she gets to college.

It’s okay for her to be secretive. After all, you didn’t tell your mom when your best friend had a pregnancy scare, did you?

It’s okay for her to choose a major you wouldn’t select for her. I guarantee she will change it at least once over the next four years.

Above all, your mom~daughter relationship should be a safe place to be real.

BE OKAY with who she is.