17 Questions Parents Should Ask Their High-School Graduates this Summer

17 Questions Parents Should Ask Their High-School Graduates this Summer


Congratulations on your child’s graduation!

You survived college applications, rejections, acceptances and decisions, final exams and graduation festivities.

And now here you are with less than two months before your child heads off to college.  Perhaps there is a summer job or family vacation, but mostly you and the rest of your family are in a bitter sweet waiting game.

From Diapers to Diploma

You know it is a parental success to launch your child.  Everyone has worked very hard to get this far and it has all been worth it!

From the first time the baby slept through the night to passing the driver’s ed exam, you have been there every step along the way.  You have negotiated major disappointments and celebrated huge accomplishments.  Some really questionable choices were made, and you were there to pick up the pieces and help your child LEARN. 

Goodness knows you’ve made some parenting mistakes, but at the end of the day, job well done to both of you!

Now that we’ve heard all the sentimental speeches there is some time to catch your breath and go back to business as usual for a little while before shoving Bed Bath and Beyond into the family SUV. 

Start a Conversation

I recommend catching some moments to enter into a few tender conversations with your young adult. You have this summer as an opportunity to be intentional about the time you spend together.  It is important to remember that you are not the only one who has mixed feelings about this transition.  Perhaps your son or daughter really wants or needs something but doesn’t’ know how to bring it up. 

Below are just some ideas to get you thinking; you know your child better than anyone else.  Don’t be too afraid to embarrass them or sound corny.  After all, you made it through the sex talk, they have forgiven you for hugging them in front of the wrong people, and everyone survived 8th grade.  

Here are some questions you might want to use to start the conversation:

1.       What are some of your favorite high school memories?

2.       Who are the people you want to make absolutely sure you stay in touch with?

3.       How do you envision staying in contact with me once you’re away?  (text, phone, facetime, how often?)

4.       What’s something you want to make sure we do together as a family before you leave?

5.       Would you like to go back to ____ this summer for old time’s sake?

6.       What are your thoughts about how we’ve been managing finances together?  Any ideas about changes you’d like to make?

7.       What are you the most nervous about?

8.       What are you excited about?

9.       What are you most looking forward to?

10.   Is there anything you are dreading?

11.   How do you think this transition will impact your relationships with your sibling (s)?

12.   Is there something special you’d like to bring with you from the house?

13.   Is there anything you need from me this summer to help you with the transition?

14.   Are you sure you know how to do your laundry?

15.   What would you like to plan for the first time you come home?

16.   Do you have any doubt about how much I love you?

17.   Do you have any idea how incredibly proud I am of how far you have come and all you have done to get to this place?

You’ve Done a Great Job, Now Simply Trust that Everything is Going to Be Okay

Try to remember that now is not the time to give any more advice.  You have shared so much wisdom over the years, but now is the time to simply listen to what your son or daughter has to say.  Instead of jumping in with ideas about how to problem-solve, just validate that everything they are feeling is 100% normal. 

They will be able to figure out whatever challenge may present itself, and you will be there to celebrate, comfort or help problem solve when need be.  That’s one thing geography can’t take away from either of you.

Congratulations to both of you, and I truly hope you can find some precious moments together this summer!