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How can adults connect with teens during their senior year when everyone has senioritis?

Senioritis is widely regarded as a right of passage for teenagers.

It’s a time when they may push boundaries more, assert their independence, and navigate the delicate balance between adolescence and adulthood.

The potential to drive parents and caring adults crazy is off the charts.

But it’s also a unique opportunity to lean into that natural urge toward freedom and choose to prioritize connection.

So, how can parents and teachers connect with graduating seniors?

Testing Boundaries

During their senior year, teens may exhibit behaviors that seem out of character. They might push boundaries more, seeking to assert their independence before leaving home.

And let’s face it, the idea of moving on leaves most of us with senioritis.

Did you notice a change in your teen’s behavior during their senior year? (Do you remember your own?!)

These shifts are often a natural part of their development as they prepare to transition into adulthood. It’s not personal. It’s nature.

Ways to Connect with Graduating Seniors

Provide Independence

Graduating seniors crave autonomy and freedom. Give them a little more independence to make decisions and navigate their own path. Trusting them with responsibilities can help foster a sense of maturity and self-confidence.

Offer Grace

As seniors navigate the final stretch of their high school journey, it’s essential to offer them extra grace. Understand that they may be feeling overwhelmed or stressed about the future. Be patient and supportive as they navigate this transition period.

Adjust Expectations

Adjust your expectations during your teen’s senior year. Recognize that they may be balancing academic pressures, social obligations, and future plans. Be flexible and understanding, allowing them the space to explore and grow.

Talk About Something Else

While discussions about college or the future are important, get interested in other aspects of their life as well.

Show genuine interest in their hobbies, passions, and personal experiences. Engaging in meaningful conversations about something other than school can strengthen your connection with your graduating teen.

Leaning into the Coming Change

It’s hard for everyone to know that change is coming, but that you’re still in the waiting period.

Parents, however, can make good use of the time by allowing teens more freedom while they are still at home and have a safe place to fail and boundaries enough to keep them from going overboard.

It’s also good practice for parents to let go a little and see that their teen is capable and will be ok.

Cheat Sheet for Talking about Mental Health

Things to say if you are not “fine” and someone asks how you are:
  • I am actually going through some stuff right now
  • Not great, actually
  • It’s been a hard day (week/month/year)
  • I’d love to get your advice if you have some time to talk
  • Thanks for asking but I don’t feel like talking about it right now.

Things to ask if you are talking to a teen you don’t think is “fine”
  • Are you sure? I would love to grab lunch or a Sonic drink if you want to talk.
  • It seems like something is bothering you. Is there anything I can do to help?
  • I have noticed ___ change. What’s been going on?

Also in this episode

  • Should you be worried about bra strap bracelets?
  • The kaizen challenge and how it can help you make positive changes in your life.

In this episode, we mentioned or used the following resources about graduating seniors and mental health.

Have a question?

If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!

About Us

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Tobin Hodges

Tobin Hodges

Program Director

Caleb Hatchett

Caleb Hatchett

Podcast Host

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