Why Graduates Need Compassion…
Do you know that seemingly positive milestones can be a painful grieving experience?
Seeing that the school year is coming to a close, today we are going to look at graduation.
If you are a parent of a highschool, college, or any other school graduate, or you are graduating yourself, please know this:
Graduation is a grieving experience because grief is, “the conflicting feelings that come at the end of or chage in a familiar pattern of behavior.”
It is normal to feel both excitement and sadness, confusion and relief, worry and gratitude. Do you know why?
Because this is a huge change. It is a change in what you have known.
If you or your kid is graduating, have some compassion for yourself and them. While they may be excited to go college, get a job, or whatever other exciting next step is out there, they are also likely feeling overwhelmed with other emotions of uncertainty.
We often only want to feel the exciting part of milestones, but the truth is that that isn’t realistic.
I remember when I graduated from high school I was so excited to go to college, but when I got there I did some major grieving (no, I didn’t call it that then).
Why do you think kids gain the freshman 15, binge drink, and engage in other risk taking behaviors? Because they are coping with the grief of change: change in routine, change in friendships, change in romantic relationships, change in habits, change in location, change in support, etc.
It is not easy.
So if you or your kid are graduating from high school, college or graduate school, be kind to yourself and them. Remember, this is a big change for both of you.
Acknowledge their experience and don’t try to fix it by telling them how great it is going to be.
It may be great, and it probably will be… AND right now they may be feeling the opposite, and that is totally normal.
Milestones can be hard because they are transitions; and transitions are grieving experiences.