Twelfth Grade: How to Help

Twelfth Grade • If she's worried that she won't measure up to fellow college students next year, help her set up informational interviews with young people (in their 20s) who have careers she's interested in. This can often be a breath of fresh air for a teenager and will probably dispel concerns she has about achieving her goals.

• Include her boyfriend (or his girlfriend) in family events, or at least have him over for dinner. Show interest in him, but don't go so far as incorporating him into everything you do together. When she asks, however, it's usually best to seem generous by inviting him. Any signs of your not liking him will be interpreted as a hostile act.

• If she does start agreeing with opinions of yours, or if you hear her espousing points of view that have come from you, try to avoid saying "I told you so." That will invalidate the entire process she went through before coming around to your way of thinking and will make her feel foolish and defensive.

• Help her get ready to leave home. She may start acting nasty again in the months before she leaves, but remember that she's only doing it so that it's easier, if not a relief, for her to go. If you help her pack her things and organize her departure, she will be able to remember her last few days with you fondly and not as days filled with rancor.

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