Senior year can be difficult for high school students. Throughout the year, they are faced with important decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. While everyone is telling them to relax and enjoy the year, many are faced with painful experiences. From saying goodbye to meaningful friendships to dealing with bullies, your senior may experience a range of emotionally taxing situations before they reach graduation.

As a parent, you will also have many incredible highs and lows throughout the year. Communicating with your senior can be key to making it a successful year. Here are some tips to help parents support their children during their senior year.

Know the Concerns

With incidents of bullying and violence in schools on the rise, one of the major concerns among parents is student safety. With the integration of mobile devices into our everyday lives, online bullying has become a major problem among high schoolers. Nowadays, bullies can follow students home from school through their phones and social media accounts. This type of constant bullying can be incredibly taxing on your teen. As a parent, it’s important to open lines of communication with your teen and support them when they come to you with a problem.

There are other, less serious concerns that are likely to affect your teen. The primary concern for most seniors is the college application process. As spring approaches, students going to college often feel nervous about not receiving their college acceptance letter when their friends have already received their letters. Choosing a college to attend also brings additional anxiety. Many students have a fear of leaving home and being on their own for the first time. All of these concerns can be emotionally crippling for students. One way teens can help prepare for their futures is with AP classes.

Lifelong Decisions

High school is often seen as the point at which some of life’s most impactful decisions are made. Many students spend fretful hours worrying about if they are making the right decisions regarding friendships, extracurricular activities, and most especially graduation, continuing education, and future career prospects. It’s a lot of pressure, and it often leaves students feeling that they will disappoint everyone if they don’t graduate with their class or make the decision not to go to school. It’s important to let your teen know that you understand that what works for one person may not work for them. Knowing they have their parents’ support can help high school students focus their attention and energy on graduating, studying for their GED, applying to universities, or starting a career. Help them identify the pros and cons of the decisions they make. Teaching them to consider the consequences of their decisions before moving forward will serve them well as they make decisions that will impact the rest of their life.

Acknowledge That Mental Health is a Concern Among Teens

Be sure that your teen knows that it is OK to talk to you about all that they are thinking and feeling. Take their concerns seriously even if they seem petty to you. Get help if your teen is struggling. Even if your teen is not willing to go with you, if you start the process, then you may learn viable techniques to help your family through this adjustment. Wake Forest University points out that teenage depression is a very real problem, and while it may be hard to see through the façade of happiness teens wear on their face or social media, the numbers show there is a growing concern. Help your student by seeking counseling yourself if you need to work on your own mental health. Avoid using stigmatized language when discussing mental health.

The senior year is one that will be remembered throughout your child’s life. It can be filled with lots of happy memories or many very sad ones. If your child seems to be struggling, then help them get mental health help, as depression is very real for many students during the senior year.