Ask Kari: My son has no plans after graduating high school — what should I do?

Dear Kari,

My child is graduating high school this year and has no plans for what is next for him. I have repeatedly tried to help my son consider some choices such as going to a trade school, getting a job, take a few classes at the local community college, anything that gets him moving on past high school. My son keeps telling me that he doesn’t want to talk about what’s next for him. Help, what should I do?

--Worried Dad

Dear Worried Dad,

First, I would like to commend you on taking the time to attempt to connect with your son and talk about his future with him. Even though your efforts have not resulted in much conversation or movement, I recommend that you keep trying to help support your son during this important life transition into adulthood. I recommend that you are mindful of picking good times to talk with him about his interests, his skills, and his hopes for moving forward in life. For example, approach him when he has some downtime to talk, not when he is about to leave the house or getting ready for bed at nighttime. Timing is very important when we want to successfully connect with others. Also, take the time to share your belief in him being successful in whatever he chooses next for himself. Ask him what he thinks he is good at, what he believes are his true talents. Then model with him how to reflect on those talents and interests by connecting them to potential options such as school or employment. Finally, remember that he may be taking in all of your communications, even if he does not acknowledge them. Good luck!


As published in the May 2018 issue of Connections.

About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and the owner and Clinical Director of Issaquah Highlands Counseling Group (IHCG), which is now Kari O’Neill Counseling.

This column is for entertainment purposes only. If you are in crisis and in need of support please contact the Crisis Clinic at 866-427-4747.