Leaving school – how to make it easier for everyone

At the age of 17 to 18, young people can vary enormously in their readiness to start the next phase of their lives. 

This is the time when they start looking after themselves for real. But you won’t be preparing them for the realities of life if you allow them to treat your home as a hotel.

It’s also important to realize that, after all the exams and the post-school celebrations, your teenager may also need to take time out for a break before they start the next stage of their life.

You can’t really control what your children might want to do next but you can act as a sounding board, helping them talk through their options.

Help with any questions they may have and be prepared to give practical support if they’re job hunting, moving out of home or trying to balance part-time work and study. 

Make sure you’re not overly invested emotionally in their choices or too controlling. But that doesn’t mean your parenting role stops with your teenager’s growing independence. 

Help your kids develop a contingency plan or two if their first option doesn’t work out and remind them there is not one, single route to success in life. Sometimes those back-up options can work out better than expected.