< 1 min read
My 18-year-old son is a senior in high school. He has been accepted to a college where he can play sports in the fall, and he is a high achiever in both athletics and school. If you’re unfamiliar with the IB program and curriculum, it’s kind of like AP on steroids — extra projects, essays, a huge project, community service, and so on — but many of his credits will transfer to college – he’s intellectually well prepared. This spring, he has a slew of tests and orals, and I’m terrified of the stress it will bring on him and us.
I guess the issue is that he is generally irritable, exhausted, and stressed out, and he makes mistakes in judgment because he is tired and, quite simply, done with high school. He’s also uninterested in discussing the workload, stress, and so on. If I or his father try to help in any way, he clams up and becomes irritable. He is attempting to be self-sufficient, but his executive functioning is lacking, and I can see him suffering.
Rationally, I understand that it is his decision and that this is his domain. I think I’m just looking for someone who can relate to what I’m going through. I mostly want him to learn to recognize and manage his stress and job load, as well as to make better decisions so that he does not end up in a serious situation. It also disturbs me that he can be deceitful in minor ways because I have always been able to trust him. Is it necessary to learn everything the hard way?
Marked as spam
I also have two college graduates, and the months before their leaving for university were the toughest. There were so many deadlines, for scholarship applications, college applications, financial aid, housing, you name it. Instead of constantly being on them about things, I asked them both what would help them the most, what could I do which would help decrease some of their stress, but not enable them to be dependent on me for things which they needed to do on their own. Some days, it ended up being something as small as "Could you bring me a snack so I can keep studying?" Other days, it was the need for an editor for a scholarship essay. And on some days, it was, "Nah, I'm good." I found that giving them control over how they could best be helped made them feel more like an adult instead of the child.
As a mother of 2 college graduates, I must say that my daughters did have to learn the hard way. If he is pushing you away and not wanting to listen to advice, there is not much you can do to get him to heed your words of wisdom and concerns. I feel your pain. College years can be very tough for both the parent and student. But they do need to learn their own lessons, albeit challenging at times. You most likely will suffer along with them. College years were not easy on me as a parent and my kids. The main rule I gave them for accountability was that they had to pay for a course if they failed a class. Also, to reassure them that I am there for them no matter what. Good luck to both of you in the unchartered waters ahead.