It can be hard, as a parent, to know how involved you should be in your child’s life now that they’re on their way to real adulthood. You want to help, but you also want to let them try—and sometimes fail. How much guidance should you give them? How much should you let them get things wrong?
We don’t know the answers to those questions (we’re working them out as we go along with our own kids). But we’ve got some ideas on how to help your now-taller-than-you child navigate the academic, social, emotional, and financial demands of their new adult-ish lives.
What to Focus On
Thinking & Learning
Transitioning to Further Education
As parents, we hear a lot about preparing our children to apply to college and get into college. But what happens next? Of course, your new adult probably wants ownership and independence when it comes to their educational journey—as they should. But what can families do to make sure they’re supported and ready to thrive?
Seeking Academic Support in College
One of the biggest challenges of college for many students, especially during freshman year, is knowing when and how to get academic support. What resources are available to them now that they’re “on their own”?
The New Adult’s Guide to Finding Your Way
Getting into college or a professional program is a huge first step. Enrolling and showing up for the first term is the next one. Graduation is still a ways off: What can you do to make sure you thrive for the years in-between?
Life After Education
Yes, it feels like they just got here. But what’s next? It’s really important for students to think ahead to what comes after they complete their education, because the real world will be here before they know it.
How to Help Your New Adult
3 Ways to Support Your Child’s Development at Home
Make sure they know what they need to earn their diploma or certification. Those graduation and certification requirements are important, because if they miss a course or don’t earn enough hours on the job, they might have to spend time (and money) making up for it. It’s their job to stay on top of what they need to do, but you know your kid best: If you think they’ll need a reminder to make sure they’re on track, go ahead and give that (gentle) nudge.
Help them become financially literate. As your new adult kid starts working and earning money, learning how to manage their income so they can cover their costs (and maybe even save for the future) is an incredibly important milestone. Even if they’re still in an education setting, they’ll need to know how to manage their spending so they don’t spend more than they can afford. Many of us grown-ups never learned financial literacy when we were teens (and unfortunately, it isn’t often taught in high school!). So if you need support to help your child build these skills, check out some of the resources we recommend.
Pass along some family traditions. Have a favorite family recipe? A story you’ve carried with you? A special place you love to visit? As your grown-up kid leaves home, these are the most important things they’ll take with them. Now’s the time to pass on the secret ingredients so they can make that meal for themselves when they need it.
It's time to
Learn to Drive
Maybe your kid already learned to drive in high school, but if they haven’t yet, it’s a good skill to learn now. Yes, if they have access to public transport, they might not need to drive much—and that’s great for the environment. But having a driver’s license can even come in handy when they apply to certain types of jobs, and it’ll allow them to be less limited in where they look for work and housing down the road.
All New Adult Resources
What Parents Need to Know About "Summer Melt"
10 Things You Don't Need to Pack for College
6 Options to Consider for After High School
How to Get A's By Getting Zzz's
5 Ways to Save Money on College Textbooks
What Teens and Young Adults Need to Know About Financial Literacy
How to Succeed at a School Transition
A Few of Our Favorite Sites for Living Life with Kids
This site offers a lot of no-nonsense advice about financial planning, and offers tools to help young people set and work toward their own financial goals.
Our first stop for anything related to learning differences. This is a great place to look for initial guidance if you have questions about your child’s social-emotional development or their learning needs.
How to Be a Good Digital Parent Toolkit
The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) offers this helpful resource for keeping your kid safe online and being a good digital role model.
Helpful college and career planning tools and resources from the College Board.
What's Next For Your Child's School Journey
That’s it. Seriously. Now you get to relax. (Wait, really?) But hey, if you’re in the mood to start back at square one, start thinking about those (potential) grandchildren.