The college kids will soon be home for Christmas break. The good news is we will be seeing the children we love. The bad new is we will be seeing the children we love. This is our fourth freshman coming home for break . . . and it doesn't get any easier to adjust to the insanity. We never figured out the best way to deal with an 18 year old who has just experienced unlimited freedom and now comes home. Like, its 11pm, we are tired, the house is quiet and the collegiate decides it is time to GO out. Then, the next day it is 12 noon and I have already done 3 loads of wash, unpacked and repacked the dishwasher, got dinner ready for the night, exercised and written a blog post...and look! The child arose and lives! This whole situation requires adjustment on every ones part...Can he just go out at midnight? He does in college. What kind of chores is he expected to do now? I need firewood stacked, a run to Costco, someone to pick up little kids everywhere in central Pennsylvania....can we ask him to do that, or just let him spend with his friends? Seems like that cash we are spending to get him smart has to be leveraged somewhere. And what about these crazy hours? My husband says nothing good happens after midnight anyway... but we still haven't figured out boundaries or limits. So today,when we got an email from the college trying to give the parents a heads up, I was hopeful! But when you read it, you will see that they haven't figured out what to do either..here is what it said, the advice being to have a short conversation as soon as he comes home.
Your first year student has been independent (more or less) for 4 months: no curfew, no expectations about telling people where they are going to be on a given evening, etc.
Your first year student has not had to do any household chores other than doing laundry and, just maybe, cleaning up the dorm room.
Your first year student might also be a little tired of being a "grown up" and look forward to being a kid again for a few weeks.
The best case scenario is having your son or daughter easily glide into the daily workings of home life again. The worst case scenario is having your child regress to seemingly kindergarten age, not thinking to contribute to the work of the house, and expecting to come and go as they please. Most likely, the reality is in the middle!
Treat this as the transition period that it is and take time to set out your expectations for your student when they return home for break. Do you expect to be told when they're going out and when they will be home Do you expect having some help with housework? A short conversations at the outset of break might make the transition easier for all of you!
So...does anyone know what to do?!