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Leaving the Nest

Leaving the Nest: Some Helpful Tips for Your Graduating Teen

June 15, 2022     By Boys Town Contributor

College, Connecting with Teens, Parenting Skills, School, Teens, Today's Family

For high school seniors, the thought of graduating may be exciting. But as a parent of a soon-to-be-graduate, you may have a lot of questions about whether your child is ready for the real world.

There are a million things you could teach your kids before they leave home and go out on their own. Chances are, you've been teaching the basics, like how to do the laundry, how to shop for or prepare a meal or how to keep their room or the bathroom clean.

But is your teen ready to responsibly enter the real world?

Whether it's getting ready for college, a trade school, the military or maybe even trying to find a full-time job, preparing your senior for what lies ahead can be a scary adventure – for everyone.

What are the necessities? How do you teach something that is second-nature to an adult, but can be so foreign to a 17- or 18-year-old?

At Boys Town, we continuously teach to our youth. Here are some tips from our experts on how you can help your senior get ready for leaving the nest.

Boys Town experts say the overall goal for seniors at this point in the year is to have a plan for their future, AND a backup plan, whether the plan is four-year college, a two-year college, maybe the military or work. Throughout each senior's last year, our experts have been looking at test scores and exploring each individual student's desire to develop a plan for both this summer and the fall.

Here are some basics you can explore and teach your graduating senior heading into whatever avenue they plan to explore, including:

  • Have a bank account with a debit card.
  • Have health insurance.
  • Understand the cost of owning a car and the responsibilities that go with it.
  • Understand car insurance and how to make sure you are protected.
  • Learn the basics of searching for a job and how to keep the job once hired. This includes filling out a job application, understanding schedules and pay periods, and knowing how to read and understand pay check stubs.
  • Know how to set a realistic budget for the money you earn.

Perhaps the most important talk you can have with your graduating senior will be what to do with the money they make from their work. Teaching teens the difference between "wants" and "needs" when it comes to decision making on spending their money is a valuable lesson.

We encourage youth to set aside a portion of every paycheck into savings. That way, when they have a deductible to meet after an auto accident or something needs fixed, they have a rainy day savings plan to tap into.

Graduation is an exciting and fun time. But it also leads to moving into the real world. We want to help you help your teen be prepared.

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