What high school students should do over the summer break

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m at a loss as to what high school students should do during their summer break. However, what I do know is how to connect with parents and teens on what their values are and use that information to co-create a path to meet their goals.

What does that even mean, you may ask? It means that as our kids grow and begin to change into adults, the parent-child relationship needs to change as well.


When my kids were born, I led from the Front. I did everything in their lives, from changing their diapers and feeding them to deciding when they played and went to bed. As they grew into young adults, my children became more independent and we started making decisions together, I co-led their choices and decisions as a Leader from Beside. Now, in high school, I lead from Behind. That consists of some investment on my part of “shut-up and listen” or “ask powerful questions and just be present for them,” among other responsibilities.

How does this apply to making summer plans? For my family, it means initiating a conversation about what my children’s goals are for the summer as well as the rest of the calendar year. Some questions you might consider asking your teen (and yourself) are:

  • How can the summer break facilitate them reaching their goals? They may need some prompting for this, such as asking them to create a fun goal and a serious goal.

  • What is a goal you can make to accomplish together?

  • What might be some obstacles to achieving their goals? What tools will they avoid or conquer these obstacles?

  • How can you, as a parent, support them in achieving these goals?

  • What accountability do they need, from themselves and from their parents?

Challenge: Start the summer goals conversation today with your young adult and simply listen to what they have to say!