As we enter the holiday season, often filled with family gatherings, it is important that as parents, we also prepare our children (and even ourselves!) for the onslaught of questions and comments about college applications and our seniors.

They will get A LOT of questions. Especially, “Where are you going to college next year?” 

If they don’t want to share the details of where they have applied or plan to apply, you can help them practice a couple of comebacks to that well-intentioned question.

Sweet Aunt Annie is just making conversation and some teens are perfectly comfortable discussing their possibilities while others feel unsure and are nervously trying to sort the process out themselves. 

Most importantly, we need to protect our children from the opinions of others regarding what is or is not a “good” college. If our children hear any indication that their list of options is not “good enough,” it will only add to the anxiety that so many of them feel about this experience. 

Throughout this month of Thanksgiving and transitions, keep these three things in mind:

1. Change:

Our seniors are experiencing a lot of change. Everything is the “last” of their high school years and they are preparing themselves for the biggest change many of them have ever experienced – leaving home for college. And what’s coming up next is still a big mystery that can weigh heavily on them.

2. Balance:

With so many changes, it’s important to remember to keep things in balance. When life and schoolwork become stressful, help dial it back by taking a mini-break and doing something fun together. Prioritize open communication and mental well-being to help prepare your child(ren) for what the future will bring.

3. Letting Go:

As the trees let go of their autumn leaves, we must also prepare ourselves for letting go of our children who are young adults at this age. The next stage of their lives is just around the corner, where their independence will truly be tested, and where we as parents have to let them forge their own paths.