Graduation: Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Graduation: Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow
By Julia Wall, MSW, LCSW, Clinician at Response

Graduating from high school is a momentous occasion for both teens and parents.  I would like to first address the parents who are reading this blog.  I want you to give yourself a pat on the back and breathe a sigh of relief!  You have successfully gotten your teen to the age of 18 and graduating with a high school degree!  While your teen may brush this off and say you didn’t help with much, you and I both know that you played a large role in where your teen is today!  Someday down the road, probably when they’re 30, they will thank you for all your hard work!

As you watch your teen walk across the stage and accept their diploma, take a moment and relish the fact that they are on their way to a bright future.  Whether they are attending community college or a university, they have their whole lives ahead of them and it is their job to pick up the torch that you have carried for the past 18 years.  Be prepared for your teen to have mixed emotions about graduating, because to them, the future is uncertain and full of possibilities.  They may say, “I don’t need you anymore”, but trust me they do; they just don’t know it yet.

Now, I would like to address the graduating class of 2013.  I remember when I graduated from high school I wanted to possibly skip the pomp and circumstance of the ceremony, but then I remembered the ceremony is not for me, but for my parents.  So, I ask of you to let your parents take tons of pictures of you and smile big smiles.  The after party is your time to be silly with your friends and discuss grand plans of college that may not be for parents’ ears.

Over the summer make time for family and friends.  You will be surprised that you will miss people when you go away to school, or if you are staying local, the friends who go away.  Be prepared to feel a sense of nostalgia about high school when just a moment ago you couldn’t wait to get out.  It is a time of significant change and you may feel you are an adult and shouldn’t have rules at home.  Out of respect to your parents, please come home at a reasonable hour.  At college take calculated risks. College is a unique time to experience life without having too much responsibility.

Okay, I will step down from my soapbox and give you just one more bit of advice.  If you go away to college, always wear shower shoes!  Congratulations to the graduating class of 2013 and their parents!

For information on programs for adolescents, teens and young adults at Response, or for all JCFS programs, visit or call us toll-free at 1-855-ASK-JCFS (855.275.5237).