High school graduation season is in full swing. It’s a big deal — for both the graduates and their parents. Here are some tips for proud parents preparing to send their kids into launch mode.

1. Set your family up for a pleasant summer together by establishing mutual expectations with your new graduate regarding summer curfew, jobs, graduation celebrations and activities, and plans for post high school. 

2. Allow extra freedom whenever possible to help with the transition into independence. Along those same lines, remind your senior that high school graduation does not equal legal adulthood. Be clear that you want your child to have fun and make memories, but be physically, morally, and spiritually safe at the same time. Have a safety plan in place in case your teen ends up in a situation where partying gets illegal or otherwise out of control.

3. Remind younger brothers and sisters that their time will come; sibling rivalry tends to increase when the older child gets lots of attention and greater freedom.

4. Look at your household’s summer calendar and plan special outings or dinners when you all can be together as a family.

5.  Remember, in the midst of all the activity and all the “to dos,” no one knows or loves your child like you do. Take pride in your new graduate and say "I love you" and "I'm proud of you" often.

Remember, after commencement and before the next phase in your child’s life — whether it’s school, military or the workforce — you have a wonderful opportunity to strengthen your relationship. Plan well and make the most of this special time together. 

Look for extra opportunities to grab a few minutes or an evening with your senior. Go to a favorite restaurant or grab a cup of coffee or an ice cream treat. Offer to help with thank-you notes, and spend that time together remembering the good memories from high school.

This is a special time for your child and your family. If you set some mutual expectations and attend to the graduation details, you and your senior can reduce conflict and make the most of this special time and each other.

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Laura Holmes Buddenberg joined Father Flanagan's Boys' Home in January 2000. As a training manager at Boys Town, Buddenberg works as an administrator, writer and trainer, specializing in teen dating and relationships, media awareness, family spirituality, abuse and other issues affecting today's families.

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