8 tips to support your teen graduating from high school

8 tips to support your teen graduating from high school

Graduating from high school is such an exciting time and the start of an amazing adventure for many young people, but it can also be a time filled with anxiousness and uncertainty.

And it's not only the teenager who is affected; it can be an extremely emotional and challenging time for parents too.

So, here are 8 tips for supporting your teen - and yourself - as they venture off into adulthood.

8 tips to support your teen graduating from high school

  1. If your teen is going to college, check into the health and mental health support services on campus, and make sure they're familiar with them.
  2. Alcohol and drugs may become more accessible at this time. Be clear about your expectations regarding drug and alcohol use, even though your child may not be living at home.
  3. Be sure your teen knows where to go - whether on campus or locally - for reproductive health care. Continue to have conversations about peer pressure, good decisions, and consequences.
  4. Once your teen turns 18, you’ll no longer have legal access to their academic or health records. So after they move on from high school to college or work, have frequent one-to-one conversations as a means of staying in touch.
  5. It’s normal for young people starting at college or moving to a new place to have days when they feel sad, homesick, or a bit lost. If these feelings persist or interfere with their ability to work, they should seek help and know that it is normal to do so. Watch for warning signs and be prepared to act.
  6. If your teen has mental health needs, develop a plan of care in advance of your teen moving away from home. Be sure to ask the health center staff what kind of medical information they will need related to your teen, and how to set up prescription refills if needed.
  7. Once your teen is settled into the college routine, keep in close contact and ask about how they're doing academically and socially. This is especially important during the first month or so while teens are still trying to settle in and may not have made friends yet.
  8. In addition to making sure that the graduating patient has all of the vaccines and other preventive health care recommended for this stage of life, pediatricians also can help families to ensure they are preparing the way for their young adult’s continuing mental and emotional health.

If your teen is going straight to work rather than college, their life will still change dramatically from when they were in the structured environment of high school, having daily contact with friends.


Be sure to give them extra space as a young adult, but realize they may need help navigating adult responsibilities like bill paying, taking on her own health care, etc.

They may also be missing high school life and friends who have moved on.

Advice for your teen

Graduating from high school is such an exciting time. For some, this may mean transitioning to a full time job while for others, it may mean heading off to college.

Here are some tips to share with your teen.

  • Participate in activities to promote overall health. Eating right, getting enough sleep (at least 8-10 hours), and being active will keep them feeling energized and can reduce stress.
  • Talk with your pediatrician about when to start seeing an adult doctor. Many young adults see their pediatricians until they turn 21. A pediatrician can provide you with guidance about choosing an adult health provider.
  • If your teen has a health care problem, know the facts. When going to a new doctor or clinic, they'll need to provide information about their diagnosis and how to treat it. They'll also need to know details about their medication.
  • If they are moving away from home, make sure they know which hospitals and clinics are close by, if there's a student health center, and what to do in an emergency.
  • Ensure they understand the dangers of taking drugs and drinking excessively.
  • If you have a chronic health condition, make sure roommates or someone close to you know about your health condition, signs of problems, and what to do in an emergency situation.

Depression or mental health warning signs


It's also vital that both you and your teen understand and recognise the warning signs of mental health issues.

These can include:

  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Unexpected crying or excessive moodiness
  • Eating habits that result in noticeable weight loss or gain
  • Expressions of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Paranoia and excessive secrecy
  • Self-harm, or threats to self-harm
  • Obsessive body image concerns
  • Excessive isolation
  • Withdrawal from friends, social groups, and hobbies
  • Unexpected and dramatic decline in academic performance
  • Drinking excessively or using other drugs to feel better or help with sleep.

Your child’s pediatrician can be a wonderful source of advice on helping your teen to transition successfull​y.

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