Launching a Teen Into Adult Life—Is Like Launching a Canoe

If you’re in the long process of launching a teen into adult life, you know the wobbly, unstable feeling.

launching a teen

Your teen’s about to embark on a journey that’s going to be exciting.

It’ll be a combination of breathtaking beauty and—at certain times—hair-raising, adrenaline-skyrocketing danger.

The safely of the shoreline is no place to spend the rest of your life, and so your teen has to go.

Launching a teen into adult life can feel like launching a canoe.

It’s a time of transition.

You hold the gunwales while the child you love goes from standing confidently on solid ground, to placing one foot on a wobbly, unstable surface.

Then stepping gingerly—holding on—trying to find balance, trying to get to a seat without tipping.

Sometimes this canoe holds multiple teens all doing this at the same time, with scant experience or skill, their every move throwing your whole family off balance one way, and then another.

Launching a teen can be like launching a canoe—for 7 years.

If you’re feeling wobbly and unbalanced, if you feel like you’re constantly having to compensate for other people’s erratic, unpredictable movements—if you feel sudden shots of adrenaline across your heart as you seek balance while worrying that everything’s going to tip over—you are not alone.

Launching a teen is a time of extraordinary transition.

It lasts for years—but it doesn’t last forever.

Balance will return, along with pride, as you see your teens and 20-somethings paddling off confidently toward their own shorelines.

Here—find 6 practical tips on how to launch a teen.

Licensed therapist Matthew Elias of Guilford Family Counseling provides an excellent resource for parents launching a teen here.

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Read just one chapter of LAUNCH every 1–3 months while your child’s in middle school and high school, and you’ll know every viable strategy for debt-free college at exactly the right time to implement it.

And if your child’s already well past middle school? That’s OK; you can run to catch up. But the process of getting your kids through college debt-free goes more smoothly the earlier you start it—especially if you’re not planning to save up any money to pay for college.

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Who is Jeannie Burlowski?

Jeannie is a full-time academic strategist, podcast host, and sought-after speaker for students ages 12–26 and their parents and grandparents. Her writing, speaking, and podcasting help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free and move directly into careers they excel at and love. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post, USA Today, NerdWallet, and US News and World Report, and on CBS News.

Jeannie also helps students apply to law, medical, business, and grad school at her website GetIntoMedSchool.com. You can follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.