My Son’s a Senior in High School, He’s Almost Completely Tuned Out

Over the summer I had a few discussions with my son about what he wanted to do for the upcoming year. I really wanted him to stay at home. I felt like the risk might be too high, but I also know that I tend to be really anxious when it comes to my kids and their safety.

We live in a state where Covid-19 cases are very low and declining. No one in my house goes anywhere without a mask. And we live in a rural area. Our numbers have always been low compared to the hot spots.

I want my son to have a good senior year. (Twenty20 @ninastout_p_v)

My son decided to do senior year of high school from home

It’s my son’s senior year of high school. He’s a young adult and I thought it would be best to have a discussion about it rather than make the decision for him. He decided that he felt good about staying home and that’s what he wanted to do, I was relieved and felt like we could totally tackle the year and he’d do great. We agreed to reassess the situation after the first semester because that’s the school’s rule, and it makes total sense.

I knew he wouldn’t get the full experience of his senior year, and I knew he’d miss out on some things and he might be sad about that.

I didn’t think he would tune out completely

What I didn’t consider was that he might tune out too much and stop caring that this is his last year of high school. Senior picture orders are due soon and he’s saying he doesn’t want one and isn’t interested in purchasing a yearbook.

He’s taking his sweet time picking out a subject for his senior paper which accounts for a huge portion of his grade.

He’s motivated to get his work done on time (thank goodness). But he seems to have little desire to see his classmates, keep in touch with anyone, or do any of the ‘senior’ things that he still has access to, like going to watch a game or honoring his time in high school with a senior picture.

I know things are different these days. I also understand that I didn’t go to high school during a global crisis when everything felt so mixed up and hard. It’s clear that this has taken the wind out of his sails and he’s doing what he can to stay in the game. He wants school to be over so he can get on with his life. He wants Covid to be over. Like the rest of us he yearns for things to return to normal.

I’m not sure how much to push him

As his mother, I push him into doing enough things he doesn’t want to do like mowing the lawn and cleaning up his room. It’s my job to make sure he is successful at life and learns how to be responsible. But when it comes to how engaged he is or how much he’s participating in his senior year, I’m not sure how much to push him.

My concern is that he will have regrets if he doesn’t stay in touch with his friends or have a picture in the yearbook. What if he gets so out of touch that when this virus gets under control he’s tuned out so much he feels like he can’t get back into school and life next year?

I don’t want him missing senior prom if that’s a possibility. I don’t want him looking back wishing he’d put more energy into his senior year.

I know I loved my senior year of high school. But, I was surrounded by that excitement almost every day I went to school. There was that slow build to graduation. Virtual learning is taking that away from him (and many other kids I’m sure) and I’m feeling like it’s my job to overcompensate for that loss so he doesn’t look back and wish things were different.

Naturally since I’m his mother everything I say is dumb and nothing I say carries much weight in his mind. So, I largely stay silent because I feel like I’m doing more harm than good these days.

I’ve suggested going out and getting his senior picture done. I’ve bribed. I’ve told him he is going to be sorry. I’ve asked him almost daily who he’s keeping in touch with. Other than physical force (which I can’t do because he has almost seventy pounds and five inches on me) I’m out of ideas. But I’m full of concern.

His last year of high school should mean something

It’s his last year of high school. This means something. It is a big deal and I never want him to look back and feel sad about it, but I also understand that he’s his own person and he has agency to make some of his own decisions. I’m letting him figure it out himself and if he eventually wishes he’d done more to celebrate this year, it’s his life and his lesson, right?

Mother to mother, what would you do and how are you handling this if you are in the same situation? Because I’m really at a loss here.

The author of this post wishes to remain anonymous.

More to Read:

For the Class of 2021, Here are 21 Ways to Make Senior Year Great

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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