AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT)— Being the parent of a high school graduate is a unique life to live, you spend many years helping your child grow up, then they graduate, and your parenting skills go from being fully in charge to a more supportive role.

Belinda Palacios, Executive Director of the Amarillo Children’s Home has some great tips on how to help parents make that transition.

The “run up” to college is hard for parents but a crucial part of parenting. This is a time where a child may move away to college or some other pre-career track begins to loom on the horizon. It is an emotional time for parents. The relationship with their child is evolving and they are saying good-bye to routines that have been with them for a long time.

The shift in the relationship with their child is required and critical. So it is ironic that in the midst of all this stress, emotions (happy and sad) along with nostalgia, we are required to do some our best and most important parenting.

No matter how much independence you have handed over or forced upon your child at varying stages the run up of senior year to graduation seems to be a turning point for you and your child. It is time to shift being the one in charge to help you child to begin to lead the way.

The following are tips to help parents with this transition:

· Pull yourself together: there will be tears with a constant parade of last but stay focused on the exciting new life your child is getting ready to embark on. Know that your child is feeling emotions as well and seeing you fall apart can put more stress on them.

· The responsibility dance: during senior year there is a muddling of push/pull between child and parent over who does what. There will be times that you will announce this is now his/her responsibility and step out of it hoping for the best. Being there to help navigate mistake/ celebrate successes is key.

· Social life—make good choices: during your child’s life you have been a gatekeeper on their peer relationships and activities. This will be no more. You will never meet or know of many peers who are in your child’s life once they move on. Have faith in the values you have instilled in your child as well as praying for you child in regard to this. Stay connected to them and ask about their life… know you are interested in what they are doing and who they are meeting.

· Managing stress and learning coping strategies: our kids have been learning coping skills all of their life. All kids feel stress at times. In this new chapter the stress they feel may be different and more intense. There is a lot of pressure to succeed from society. Let you child know you are only a phone call away to help them process what is going on. You will know whether this call is for you to just listen or to extend advice.

· Handing mishaps/ disappointments: this new chapter will heap a lifetime of lessons on your child. Some of these lessons will be painful. They may have failure, heartbreak, disappointment and even questioning if they are in the right place/doing the right thing. Be prepared this will happen and be ready to help them process all of these feelings.

· Teach your child to applaud/accept success with grace: Helping our kids be good cheerleaders for others and when they do have times of accomplishment that they are

modest/ grateful for it and the support they received to help achieve this. This skill will go a long way in their life…. Personally, and professionally.

· Unexpected understanding: you think you know your child better than anyone and your probably do. At times we think the adolescent child will evolve in to a more grown-up version of that. However… this is not always true. As your children grow up you will learn more about their character, aspirations, determination, and personal demons. The older they get the more you will learn. Being able to witness this and relish in it is one of the biggest gifts we can give our kids and ourselves.