Few transitions bring as much emotion and anxiety to parents as when their children leave home and enter the “real world.”
Questions race through our minds at crunch time:
- Have we covered the bases and taught them what they need to know?
- Will they make good decisions and hold firm to their values?
- How will our relationship change?
These are weighty questions for parents at this milestone event! So, when it’s our turn, will we confidently release an eagle to soar or hold on for dear life?!?
Three Keys to a Successful Launch
How successfully we launch our children into adulthood is based on all the preparation that has come before.
Here are three keys to master:
- Developing a personal leadership foundation and instilling wisdom and principles for key life decisions (Destination Preparation)
- Valuing their uniqueness and building an enduring relationship (Relationship Preparation), and
- Setting them up for a smooth transition into independence and moving from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat (Transition Preparation)
The good news is this isn’t rocket science. But, it does take a game plan and effective strategies for tackling the above. This is what Parenting for the Launch is all about—strategies to set our sons and daughters up for every success in life.
Covering the Bases—Destination Preparation
For parents at launch time, our most common anxiety is whether we’ve taught them all they need to know and prepared them well for this destination. In many respects it’s the acid test of our own “performance” as a parent! While no parent is perfect, we can cover most of the bases by:
- Having the right attitude. This requires a “mind shift” from “raising kids” to “raising future adults.” This perspective changes everything! It means empowering them to live their dream rather than overly controlling their lives. It means “giving them wings, not strings.”
- Setting goals together. What are your teen’s goals in life? What are their special gifts, talents, interests, and passions? It helps to develop a list of goals that are both intrinsic (personal and values based) and extrinsic (accomplishments based). Compile your goals individually and then share your thoughts together. You’ll gain new insights into their dreams and plans.
- Developing a personal leadership foundation for life. In our first book, What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead, we reveal 109 life success pointers for leadership and decision-making. The pillars of a rock solid foundation for life are found in the first six chapters: life perspective/strategy, character, relationships/communication, spiritual life, handling adversity, and personal productivity. A healthy foundation makes for wise decisions down the road.
- Sharing practical, before-the-fact wisdom, for key life decisions involving college, career, marriage/family, and finances (last four chapters in WIWIK@18). How do the most successful and admired leaders make decisions and live life? The more we can offer these perspectives in advance of their decisions, the more likely they’ll succeed in life. And, by sharing your own experiences with humility, your relationship will soar.
You Can Do It!
Although it may sound daunting, great preparation can be done with time and effort. The following link to our Parenting Preparation Checklist will give you a head start. And, for a “deeper dive” into these subjects, we invite you to check out What I Wish I Knew at 18 for teens and Parenting for the Launch for you.
To parenting with purpose and letting go with confidence!
What's your biggest fear about raising your teen?
This post is from Dennis Trittin. Dennis is President of LifeSmart Publishing and author of the new book, Parenting for the Launch: Raising Teens to Succeed in the Real World. Dennis is a retired investment executive and now author and speaker. He is father of two young adults. Find him at www.parentingforthelaunch.com. Interested in blogging for us? Read our guest blog guidelines.