College: Sending Your Teen Off

Date: 07/06/2023

Title: Is my teen ready to launch?

00:00:00 Speaker 1
You. Is your graduating senior really ready to go up to college? Well, let's talk about that
today on Tips on teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist,
and I specialize in helping kids, teens, and families live happier lives. I lead two organizations,
teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501 C three organization, child and Teen Counseling,
both here in Woodland Hills, California. And every Wednesday at noon, I jump onto Facebook
Live to answer your parenting questions. Let's jump into today's. My 17 year old daughter graduates
from high school in a few weeks. She'll be shipping off to college in August. Even though I've
known this was coming forever, I'm suddenly feeling terrified that I haven't prepared her
enough for the real world. She's had a part time job, and she knows how to cook a few things, but
mostly I'm worried about her judgment. I feel like I'm the one who let her homework until the
last minute. How do I know if she's ready? Well, thank

00:01:06 Speaker 1
you for your question. And the answer is, there's a definite answer. And that is she's not ready,
because no one is. No one is ever ready to go off to college. And that's the whole point of going
off to college. It's stepping out of your comfort zone. It's stepping into a new, challenging
situation where you can make mistakes, have some knucklehead decisions that you have and learn
and grow from those experiences. The problem is, for all of us parents who are in this situation,
every fear that you've ever had about your child kicks into gears. Like the same fear that when
you first left your little kid with a babysitter for the very first time, oh, my gosh, something's
going to happen. Or you let your kid go to the park or the Muslim park or the mall without a parent.
Like, oh, no, there are murders around every corner, and somehow they turn out fine. Because
while there is that chance of something horrible happening, statistically it's rather minuscule,
and most time people are, okay,

00:02:06 Speaker 1
I understand it does happen. I understand that. But statistically, you're much more likely
to get hurt by someone you know or something like that. So what I would recommend you doing is
recognize that she did get the grades to go off to college. She did have a part time job. She does
understand how to cook. Maybe she'll do okay, just like the rest of us have. She's going to step
into a new situation and make some mistakes. And the best thing I could advise you to do is over
the next couple of months before she goes off to college is spend as much quality, positive,
loving, accepting time as you can with her so she has that when she goes to college. So if she is
over her head, she knows she's safe to come to you because that's the best safety net you can provide
to her is that you provide her with that unconditional support and that acceptance and love.
No matter what knucklehead choices she makes, it's easy if she makes a poor choice to get mad
at her, but that's what's going to shame her.

00:03:07 Speaker 1
She's not going to learn from shame, except I'm a bad person. We want to learn from our regrets
and mistakes by accepting them, embracing them, and becoming wiser people. That's how we grow,
and that's what I'd recommend for you and your family. So over the next two months, obviously
she'll want to hang out with her friends, but have some quality time. Now, if you still want to
make time because you feel you haven't talked about sexual health, dating safety, the risks
of drugs and alcohol, those are really appropriate questions or conversations to have, just
as long as it's handled with respect and empathy and patience and take that judgment that you
have in there and throw it out the window. She may have some different ideas or opinions than
you. Don't judge her for those. Accept her for those as if you can accept her for her opinions,
she might be able to accept yours and then maybe reconsider what her values are, keeping yours
in mind. That's our question for today. Thank you very much.

00:04:09 Speaker 1
Keep your questions coming. If you'd like me to answer your question here on Tips on Teens, email
us at tips on or direct message us right here on Facebook. We
love your questions. Again. My name is Kent Toussaint with Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen
Counseling, and I'll see you guys next week. Bye bye.

Is My Teen Ready To Launch?

Are you wondering if your teen is ready for the challenges of being off at college all on their own? The answer is no, of course they aren’t! No one is ever 100% ready to go to college. That’s the point! Part of the experience of “launching” is to step out of your comfort zone, make some mistakes, learn and grow.

For parents, sending a kid off to college can summon every parental fear you’ve ever had. Even as your teen is on the verge of adulthood, watching them leave for school brings up those same feelings as when you left them alone with a babysitter for the first time. We suggest parents remember that even though there are many dangers out there, statistically the chances of your child getting hurt are minimal.

Help Them Grow Wiser With Love and Acceptance

As your prepare for college, yes, it’s a good and appropriate time to have conversations about dating safety, sex and the risk of drugs. But the most important thing is to show your child that you are a source of unconditional support, acceptance and love. That way, when they make those mistakes, they know it’s safe to come back to you.

There’s more to say about it and we get into it in this Tips on Teens:

“My 17 year old daughter graduates from high school in a few weeks. She’ll be shipping off to college in August. Even though I’ve known this was coming forever, I’m suddenly feeling terrified that I haven’t prepared her enough for the ‘real world.’  She’s had a part time job and she knows how to cook a few things, but mostly I’m worried about her judgment. I feel like I’m the one who left their homework until the last minute. How do I know if she’s ready?”

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here –

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.