Practical Tips to Say Goodbye to Your High School Senior


They say it is never easy to say goodbye to your child moving onto college. We will instead say, “see you soon,” even though that seems like a lie, because soon is not another day or two, it could be until Thanksgiving after all. Senior Year is not just about their success but also a reflection of your support and guidance over the years. How does a parent say goodbye to their high school senior?

How to say goodbye to high school senior?The Bittersweet Senior Year

The Senior year goes by so fast… from the many wonderful traditions (not all schools may do these) to the final graduation day. It started with the Junior year ending with “Senior Storm,” as now they are the Seniors of the school. They start Summer, but also make sure their college essay is ready and get a college advisor to assist with the whole college application phase. Then, start the school year with the “Senior Sunrise” and narrow their list of colleges to apply, find have the deadlines for early admission, and last but not least try to enjoy some school events, football games, prepare for homecoming, the after parties, while trying to avoid Senioritis.

As a parent you realize all these are their “last moments,” and you try to capture it as best as you can while holding back all the tears (or cry in private). We try to take time to celebrate these achievements by:

  1. A special family dinner and include friends that have become family too.
  2. A heartfelt conversation (or many of them) can be meaningful way to acknowledge their hard work and the role you’ve played in their success.
  3. A graduation party or a farewell/sendoff party.

The Emotional Rollercoaster

I had friends that told me to push him to go to some of the local schools as he is your first and that is hard. Yes, it is a whirlwind of emotions; but I know no matter where he goes, I will miss him due to the change in daily family dynamics. He chose LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. When I tried to mention local schools, he reminded me that when he was in Kindergarten we told him to get a good scholarship in academics and LSU gave him the best scholarship while also being his top choice. Remember these emotions are testament to the deep bond you share. It’s okay to feel emotional and to express those feelings (y’all some days are tough). To help with this I have been given advice from multiple parents or reading books and here it is:

  1. Continue to have open and honest conversations and it will strengthen your relationship and provide comfort during this transition. Trust the values and lessons you’ve instilled in them over the years.
  2. Preparing for independence starts with going to college and being on their own. They’re about to navigate a world of new responsibilities, from managing their schedule to handling finances, and making important life decisions, as many “firsts” will be encountered.
  3. Continue to encourage them by sharing practical advice and life skills that will help them thrive (budgeting, cooking, time management, handling stress, and relationships).

Embrace the Change by Staying Connected

I’m still working on embracing the change; but I know my other three boys will keep me busy (a rising high schooler, middle schooler and my baby, a rising 5th grader). For those of you being your last child going off to college or your only, it’s a new chapter for you. With your child off to school you can:

  1. More time to focus on your own interests and goals or take up new activities.
  2. Personal growth and rediscovery.
  3. Reconnect with hobbies, invest in your career, strengthen relationships with your partner or friends.

Thank goodness for technology as I am only a text, call, FaceTime away. I will continue to support and love him. He will get reminders to stay connected with at least his Mom. I do look forward to hearing all about his experiences. This foreign Mama went to college (University of Maryland, Go Terps); but never experienced the true “college life,” (that will be for another article).

Bye Senior Year and Hello College

The Senior prom and Senior Sunset picnic were both successes since they made memories and had great weather (big deal in DMV’s unpredictable weather). At the Elementary school clap out, yes, I cried like a baby. When I saw the pictures of Jordan with his Elementary school friends, teachers, and being in the school, all practical tips went out the door. We loved the graduation parties and seeing all the friends as I love them like my own and see them as being so little. Then onto the final event… the graduation ceremony. I got emotional with some of the speeches; but only had some tears. Guess what, it is alright for me to cry and have all these emotions. That goes for you too… embrace it all.

We must cherish the shared as we say goodbye to our high school senior and look forward to the stories they will bring back from college.


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