HIgh school seniors' emotions run high

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  May 24, 2011 06:00 AM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Readers, Due to a technology glitch, many of the questions that were sent to me in the past week have been lost. If I haven't already posted your question, please resubmit it. Thanks, and sorry for the inconvenience. BFM

Hi,

My HS senior daughter is incredibly weepy and emotional. At first, I was in a panic that she's pregnant!! OK, she has a steady, and your mind goes places...NM. Now I have a new theory. Over the weekend, her three best friends were hanging out in my kitchen and all of a sudden, I turned around and all four of them were crying on top of each other. Is this about the end of high school??

From: Sometimes it takes me a while, Tacoma, WA

Dear Sometimes,

I'd bet big money on it. This is an incredibly emotional time for high school seniors, boys as well as girls, but girls are more likely to be open about it, while boys may bump fists and say things like, "Yeah, later." This is a bittersweet time for them, they are excited about moving on but sad about ending what seems like a lifetime together.

The best -- and only -- way to be helpful is to indulge them and let them wallow in it, just like when they were preschoolers and hated the idea of any kind of change. Ooh -- and be available to talk.

Even boys who aren't necessarily all that talkative will give you insight into their feelings when they are tired and feeling vulnerable. Be around to offer a midnight snack, and you'll be rewarded with something pretty simple, like, "I'm gonna miss not seeing Tommy every day...." Seize the moment but don't over-do it! I can't stress that enough. The best response is a reflective one: "Yeah, you're gonna miss Tommy....." This is not the time to ask probing questions ("Well, he hasn't really been your closest friend for all that long, has he....?"); offer coping skills ("At least you can text each other."); or inject a dose of reality ("Yeah, but you're gonna make so many new friends!"). This is when just being there really counts and your listening skills really matter.

If your kid seems to be going overboard -- weepy all the time, clingy even -- give it a little time, it tends to peak and flow, especially as friends' emotions feed into each other. Some kids tend to regress and focus on what-ifs ("Why didn't I work harder?") while others make rash promises to themselves ("I am gonna be an A student!"). A reflective response is really helpful here, too.

Oh -- one other thing. This is not the time to share your own roller coaster of emotions unless, of course, your teens ask. And wow -- do you have an exceptionally empathetic kid if he or she does!

I answer a question from a reader every weekday. If you want help with some aspect of child-rearing, just write to me here. (And please do! Because of the technology glitch mentioned above, the larder is running low.)


This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

1 comments so far...
  1. Is this going to be a support group for parents of kids going to college??? Mine's not crying, she's just mean! Its like she wants to argue all the time. Luckily, the other moms tell me what a delight she is, so apparently its just me. I highly suggest the book "Get Out of My Life, But First Can You Take Me and Cheryl to the Mall". It describes all this perfectly!

    Posted by ash May 24, 11 10:42 AM
 
1 comments so far...
  1. Is this going to be a support group for parents of kids going to college??? Mine's not crying, she's just mean! Its like she wants to argue all the time. Luckily, the other moms tell me what a delight she is, so apparently its just me. I highly suggest the book "Get Out of My Life, But First Can You Take Me and Cheryl to the Mall". It describes all this perfectly!

    Posted by ash May 24, 11 10:42 AM
add your comment
Required
Required (will not be published)

This blogger might want to review your comment before posting it.

About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

Submit a question for Barbara's Mailbag


Ask Barbara a question

Barbara answers questions on a wide range of topics, including autism, breastfeeding, bullying, discipline, divorce, kindergarten, potty training, sleep, tantrums, and much, much more.

Send your questions to her at:
meltzbarbara (at) gmail.com.
Please include your name and hometown.

Child in Mind

Moms
All parenting discussions
Discussions

High needs/fussy baby

memes98 writes "My 10.5 month old DS has been fussy ever since he was born, but I am getting very frustrated because I thought he would be much better by now...has anyone else been through this?"

More community voices

Child in Mind

Corner Kicks

Dirty Old Boston

Mortal Matters

On Deck

TEDx Beacon Street

RSS feed


click here to subscribe to
Child Caring

archives