With my almost 17-year old graduating from high school this summer (WHAT?), I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the things she needs to know before she leaves. Suddenly, I’ve got an urgency to make sure she remembers how to boil an egg or hang dry her bras, which by the way are things she already knows (better than me, in some cases).

It’s easy to get caught up in all the skills that they should have before they leave home, which I totally understand are very important. But I think even more important are the things about your relationship that need to be solid and in place. It was easy when they were home, hiding away in their room, behind mounds of clothes and towels (not just my teen, right?), because if you wanted to talk to them or even just be next to them, they were right there in your house. Your physical presence, in many cases, was message enough to say “I’m here if you need me.”

But with them now on their own, or crammed in a dorm room with a bunch of strangers, those messages (and others like it), need to be emphasized even more, sometimes with seriousness, and gratefully with our sponsor TilePix, with some levity, which is much welcome these days when it seems like life is passing us by so quickly that we can’t even catch our breath. You’ll see what I mean when you watch this:

On their behalf, I’m sharing these 5 messages with the hope that even if you don’t have a high school graduate like I do, you’ll start emphasizing them with your kids now.

1. I will always hear you. Kids need to know that when they talk to you, regardless of the topic, that you’re going to listen to them. And that’s not just when they’re having a hard time and need someone to listen. This is about allowing them to have strong feelings (hurt, pain, anger) even towards you, at times, and being able to give them a safe space to share.

2. I will always come get you. This is a tough one for kids, like mine, who want to go very, very far away, but even so, that doesn’t mean you can’t figure out a way to get to them. That’s what there are apps and Facebook Groups with parents in faraway places (just to name a few ideas). I have a no questions asked policy with my kids. If they call me and need me to get them, no matter what time of night or where they are, I will come, and we will talk about whatever it was that they were doing later.

3. I will always do my best. Even though our best may not necessarily be good enough at the time, I think it’s important for our kids to know that we are giving them our best efforts when we parent them. The best in people may still not be enough, and in some cases, it may be disappointing, but our kids deserve the best that we have to offer them.

4. I will always think you’re awesome. No matter what our kids do, what they achieve (or fail at), whatever decisions they make, being our child is awesome enough. There are no accomplishments or awards that can make us love them more, and conversely, there are no actions they can take that will make us love them less. We may disagree with their choices, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love them.

5. I will always be with you. Whether it’s a spoken reminder that you’re always thinking about them, and that you will always have this connection to them in your heart, or you literally are always with them because you created something like I did for my graduate (thanks TilePix), it’s so important for them to know that you’re not going anywhere. And hey, if that involves a clever, visual reminder of that, like I made in the video above, than so be it.

Thanks to our TilePix for giving us a funny way to celebrate our graduates. Whether it’s silly photos like mine, or a wonderful message of love and congratulations, with favorite photos of them throughout the years (good idea, huh?), TilePix makes it so easy to give them a cool gift to celebrate their big accomplishment and next chapter. You can order your own TilePix and save 60% off (12 +) and free shipping code COOLMOMS. 

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