Dr. James Keffer
When my oldest child was born, I was overwhelmed with all the things my wife and I would need to do to raise him. Most urgent was getting him fitted into the car seat, changing his diapers, and safely bathing him. Fast forward 18 years and he graduated high school and set off for Auburn. The tasks had changed, but fortunately we’d been getting him (and ourselves) ready for this next phase.
Parenthood is busy in many ways. Often, once parents learn how to manage their child in one phase, the child is off to the next. Preparing them for a full-time job or further schooling is something that should start before their senior year. Let’s review some ways to get all of you ready!
Prepare Your Child
The first thing to remember is that one of our goals as parents is to get our child ready to navigate the world when they live away from us. We want them to have the education and real-world skills to be able to manage their adult life.
Consider Their Future Physician
From a healthcare standpoint, remember that here at Old Harding Pediatric Associates, we are happy to be your child’s doctor until they turn 23 years-old. Prior to that birthday, start to discuss with your child what doctor they’d like to see next. Consider taking them with you to one of your doctor visits so they can see the differences.
We’ll do our best to encourage him or her to take a greater role in their healthcare experience. If your child has a chronic condition like diabetes or asthma, be sure to have them gradually take over managing medications and discuss goals of treatment. Also, remind them of the importance of having continued access to healthcare as they progress into new phases.
If your child has a condition that may limit their likelihood to live independently, consult a financial planner and lawyer to be sure that you have a will, power of attorney, and formal plans to how your child will be cared for. See links below for guidance on this process.
Discuss Their Education Options
To help your child get ready for work or further education, be sure to talk with your child about work options. This conversation should include what sort of training will be needed, how long it will take to get that training, how much that training will cost, and what sort of income that work could provide.
Be Open About Healthy Relationships
Also, review with your child what healthy friendships and romantic relationships look like. Share with him or her your positive and negative experiences. Remind them that friends and other significant others have no right to cause them physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, and to report such behavior should it occur.
Highlight The Importance of Healthy Relationships
Point out to your child that should anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues come up, that seeking care is the wise and needed thing to do. Let your child know about ways that alcohol can be responsibly used and hazards of substance abuse. Encourage them to never drive if they have used any mind-altering substances.
You’re Doing Great
You’ve done a good job shepherding your child this far. You can also do a great job as the parent of an adult child. If you have any questions or concerns about this process, please bring up at any of your child’s checkup visits or give us a call.
GOT TRANSITION – Readiness Checklist For Parents
Readiness Checklist For Youth
United Cerebral Palsy – Longterm Planning Resources
United Cerebral Palsy – Transitioning Resources