Twelfth grade. The phase when your emerging adult pulls away, gets closer, does things for the last time; and you both start asking, “What’s next?”

If sixteen is “sweet,” then eighteen is “legal.”

This kid is no longer a child. Technically speaking, they are fully responsible for their actions and decisions. (Of course, you may still have to pick up the pieces from time to time.) You may feel them pull away as they drive to a first job, deposit a paycheck, register to vote, or maybe even disengage from youth ministry programs.

The countdown clock is counting down to the end.  

There may seem to be an urgency to these last 52 weeks. As seniors take on more responsibility, they will also lean in relationally in a different way.

They discover—especially late in the year—that they need the adults in their world a little bit more than they thought. All of a sudden, the decisions have very high stakes. Like, “Will you try to date him long distance?” And there’s nothing like having “last time” moments to bring out a little sentimentality.

The greatest question of this phase for everyone is, “What’s next?”

In fact, it can drive you both a little crazy. At times, it can feel like walking on a moving sidewalk that’s about to end with no real defined floor on which to walk. Just remember to focus on “next: few months” more than “next: rest-of-your-life.”

They may be legally adults, but they aren’t adults really. Your job hasn’t ended. Even the most accomplished seniors will take a few years (and maybe some counseling) to figure this adult thing out.

This content was contributed by Phase. Discover all the resources available for your senior in the Phase store.

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