This is the time of year when TCKs preparing for college start to see it on the horizon. It’s common for TCKS to feel anxious about this transition, and its normal for that anxiety to start to increase about now. For many young people graduating from high school marks the end of childhood, but some this transition may not be drastic, if they don’t move out to go to college, or if they at least stay in the same country. But, for TCKs, graduating high school and going on to college or or work can often mean the end of their life in their current country. That makes this transition an identify shift with much greater magnitude. Also, becoming independent and living away from parents is a more daunting challenge when its a new country and your parents are in a different one.
While its normal to feel anxious about this challenge its not necessary to face these fears alone. A TCK therapist can help, especially if the anxiety is causing the senior to lose sleep, struggle to focus on school or disrupting relationships. In any case, this is an important time for parents to get specific with their children about what is coming up for them and the family. It is said that “information binds anxiety,” so parents can greatly help their soon-to-be graduates by asking explicitly about the questions their child has about the future. Seek out the what-ifs, and worst case scenario worries they have. Then look for answers. I recommend writing all of this down. Writing it down helps parents and teens to organize the information gathering and it can help invite teens express their concerns. Putting concerns on paper one by one also lets a person’s brain stop spinning around in worries about the issue.
Here is a worksheet you can use for this.
TCK care organizations have put together some excellent resources for graduating seniors and some of these are collected here.
Photo by Miguel Henriques on Unsplash