1. Talk about Expectations with your Child.
Discuss what you both feel is important for the party. I know some graduates chose a family vacation rather than a graduation party. If you choose to have a party, speak frankly about what you most want from an event. While reflecting on her experiences, one mother writes, “For me, great food and a warm welcome for each guest is of the utmost important.” Knowing what you, your spouse, and your child desire is crucial to a successful party.
2. Establish graduation as a rite of passage in their lives and yours.
Western society has lost the significance of rites of passage in an individual’s life. Graduating from high school is a time to celebrate, but it should be so more. “Experiencing a rite of passage allows young people to let go of childlike behavior and to begin taking on adult responsibilities and their accompanying consequences.” (Rite of Passage Parenting) Find a time during this season of life when you can incorporate a “rite of passage” with your child.
3. Simplify everything.
Parties tend to snowball over time; therefore, start simple, and stick to the plan. This time may not be the best opportunity to plan renovations to your home. If you attend many open houses, you will be tempted to add to the menu, the decorations, or invitation list. I encourage you to fight conformity, and simply design your party uniquely around your family. One parent writes, “Keep it simple – don’t buy into the “over the top” parties. Do only those things that will honor your student and don’t try to compete to meet the standards set by other graduation parties.”
4. Be selective in your invites.
In today’s world of social media invitations, people sometimes feel as if they have to invite everyone they know rather than who they actually want to invite. Many parents and students feel overwhelmed by the crowd of people that parade through in a few short hours. If numbers are not important, restrict your party to just close family and friends. This allows more time to actually connect than simply up-dating them on what you are doing fall.
5. Write down and record memories.
As with any party, you and your child will be overwhelmed with people arriving, giving gifts, talking, and then leaving. It is important to have a way to record memories from the day whether it is someone taking videos, pictures, or a guest book.
6. Take time to reflect.
Many parents and students feel social pressure to not only host a party, but to attend an endless season of party jumping. In the midst of this hectic time, set aside quite time as a family to reflect on the changes that are occurring in your family.
7. Start planning early.
If you need to rent equipment (tables and chairs), then you will need to call early. Borrowing from friends and neighbors will take some time. As with any period of change, you should expect your emotions and stress level to be elevated in you and your child. The sooner you start to plan, the easier it will be to make decisions and stay under budget.
8. Get help before, after, and during the Party.
One parents expresses how, “It is NOT possible to do it all on your own.” “Have a close friend or family member take care of replenishing food and taking care of all kitchen responsibilities. This frees the parents up to be able to visit.” The work required for a party takes many hands, so make sure that you ask your community to help.
Deeply to the Bone, Donald Grimes
Rite of Passage Parenting, Walker Moore