It’s an exciting time of year here on the Kenai Peninsula. Hundreds of area students will receive their high school diplomas this week, and many more will be returning home for the summer from college. There’s a feeling of anticipation as we send our young adults out into the “real world,” but before we let them get too far, let’s make sure we’ve had a serious conversation about what it means to be an adult.
It’s an important time to have that talk, because the consequences of mistakes made as an adult can be much more serious.
Chances are, by the time your child has finished high school they’ve been exposed to quite a few adult subjects — alcohol, marijuana and other drugs, dating, sexual activity, to name a few. Hopefully, as parents, you’ve been talking with your kids about these things with age-appropriate conversations throughout their childhood. But even if you haven’t, it’s never too late to share your views on those subjects. Young adults are influenced by the older adults in their lives, and even if it doesn’t seem like it, they’re listening.
We know some of these conversations can be awkward and embarrassing, but if your kids can benefit from your experience and perspective, they’re worth it. Social attitudes continue to evolve; share with your kids where you stand on things like alcohol and marijuana use, and pass on your advice on human sexuality. Be sure to let them ask questions, and give them honest answers — these are adult topics, and they should be treated as such. And ask them about their opinions — they just might surprise you.
While you’re at it, remind your kids to never get behind the wheel while under the influence. That’s one lesson we hope no one has to learn the hard way.
And to the young adults in our community, please bear with your parents. Remember, most of the topics that your generation is so open to sharing were things that just weren’t talked about not so long ago. We know you’ve learned a lot over the past few years, and you’ve probably formed your own opinions on many of these topics. Believe it or not, your parents were once young adults too, and they just might have some insight that could save you a little grief.
We don’t always like to think about the serious side to being an adult, but grown-up conversations are crucial for our kids to succeed in a grown-up world.