My Daughter is Making Her Own Decisions About Her Senior Year

My daughter has always been introverted and shy and generally likes to do her own thing. Throughout high school, she’s tried various things, like chorus, lacrosse, and volunteering at the animal shelter. The only thing that stuck was her love for animals. Even though many of her friends play at least one sport and aren’t drawn to animals like her, that hasn’t bothered her. I love that about her because I didn’t realize until my late 30s that I don’t have to conform to anyone else’s rules.

teen girl hugging dog
My daughter is choosing to spend her senior year exactly as she wishes. (Twenty20 @ilona.shorokhova)

My daughter is not a huge fan of high school

This year, she is a senior in high school. I know she’s been waiting for this time in her life for a while — she’s not a massive fan of school and is excited to break free from the cliques and social pressures of being a teen. However, I thought she’d embrace her senior year a little more. While she’s never been one to go along with the crowd, I thought she’d at least want professional senior pictures taken and would be interested in all the senior activities. 

That’s not happening. Like, not at all. I finally decided after she refused to hand in a senior picture for the yearbook I have to let my daughter do senior year the way she wants.

It started last summer when I asked her who wanted to take her senior pictures. She told me no one, and she’d rather have a friend or family member snap a few candid shots and pick from them. I thought it would be a good idea since she doesn’t like photos of herself, and it would be a shame to spend hundreds of dollars and have her dislike every single one. But I asked her several times to be sure. My daughter was adamant that she didn’t want professional photos taken and agreed to have a family member do it.

My daughter refused to submit a senior photo

After two sessions, she still didn’t like any of the photos very much and told me she wasn’t submitting one. I pleaded and begged her for over a month. As the deadline was fast approaching, I warned her they might use her picture from her school ID and asked again if she was sure she wanted to go this route. She was, so I decided to let it go.

Yes, I could have picked a photo my daughter didn’t like and submitted it behind her back, but I know her, and it wouldn’t have ended well. 

She also doesn’t seem interested in senior activities like dressing up for spirit week, getting involved in the fundraisers, going to project graduation, or attending the senior trip. The more I ask her about these events, the more irritated she gets. 

I’m afraid my daughter will regret not doing senior-year activities

I fear she might regret it later and feel like she’s missing out if she doesn’t sign up and do these things on time (which I’m pretty sure she won’t do). And so, while other parents talk about how excited their senior is for the year’s festivities, I have to honor my daughter and let her call the shots here.

Her senior year is her senior year. She gets to do it her way. She’s happy, well-adjusted, and loves what she does outside school, like her job at an assisted living facility, circle of friends, and time with animals. This is her life, and she’s told me that these senior activities don’t feel important to her, and she doesn’t want to do any of them.

My daughter is old enough to make these kinds of decisions on her own. And I hope she doesn’t come to regret them, but I have to let it happen because trying to force her to get into something she wants no part of not only isn’t working, I honestly don’t think it will be worth it. 

It’s her senior year. It has nothing to do with me, and just because she doesn’t want to hand in a senior portrait for the yearbook or participate in senior activities doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with her. I need to throw my hands up, stop bugging her, and let her do her thing.

I had my senior year and did it the way I wanted. Now, it’s my daughter’s turn.

The author of this post wishes to remain anonymous.

More Great Reading:

5 Things NOT to Get Stressed About During Senior Year

About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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