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Parental Support Still Helps After Graduation
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- High school graduation is an important rite of passage in the journey away from parental control, but parents still can play vital roles by being available to provide support and guidance.
"Many career and future education choices are made as early as eighth grade when vocational or college class choices are made," said Louise Davis, child and family development specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
"By the time students graduate, they should have explored career options by doing an interest inventory, talked to a guidance counselor and talked to people in different careers," Davis said. "A job-site visit can provide even more insight into potential career choices."
Even with early planning, it is not unusual for a high school graduate to be unsure about future career options.
"Parents shouldn't expect their child to know exactly what he or she wants to be or do after graduation," Davis said. "But if they are not college bound, parents may need to encourage participation in a vocational training program."
Davis said parents should focus on being supportive as children make their own decisions and not impose the parents' personal goals on the child.
"Know what your child's interests and abilities are," Davis said. "Realize that their career choices may change several times. This, too, is part of the learning process."
There are other ways parents can provide guidance after graduation. Learning how to develop a personal budget can protect young people from years of debt burdens. Parents can guide children to special money management classes sponsored through local Extension Service offices or community education programs.
"Parents generally know how much guidance their children need or want," Davis said. "Give them your support even as they make choices you disagree with. Communicate unconditional love throughout their lives and you will be more likely to receive it in return."