For those of us who have upper class college kids we can remember the first time our college student came home after being on their own for Thanksgiving break. For many of us it was an eye opening experience. Here was our baby who we had sent off not a mere 2-3 months ago. But after being on his or her own with no one looking over their shoulder sometimes the transition back to living under a parent’s roof was a little rocky. So here we are to caution you that things may be different with your college student when they return home and to be patient so the transition back home can be a smooth one.
As parents we have to remember that except for following some dorm rules our college kids are masters of their own schedule. They sleep when they want, go out when they want, eat when they want and the most important of all come in from a night out when they want. Also since college kids are usually on a whirlwind schedule, balancing studying and a social life many of us parents found that when our college kids came home the first thing they did was to to sleep and sleep they did; sometimes for the whole first day. I remember the first time my oldest came home for Thanksgiving break – he slept the whole first day away. There I was waiting to engage him and find out just how things were going at school and he was sleeping! I was frustrated – if only someone had told me that this might happen I would have been able to take a deep breath and not be so anxious
Another issue was curfew – kids don’t usually start their night out until 10 or 11 pm so they don’t return home until 2 or 3 am; and some of my friends said their kids didn’t walk into the house until even 4am. Of course, as mothers and fathers we only want our kids to be safe and come home at a reasonable hour. When they are away you don’t have to wait up for them or worry about them coming home so late. This can be a source of conflict at a time when you want to enjoy seeing them again. Have a conversation, remind them that they are home again. Whatever house rules apply as far as curfew and keeping in touch may have to be revisited so that you and your child are comfortable with the situation – you don’t want to be up all night pacing waiting for them to return and they want to feel that they are still masters of their own domain, so to speak. So come to some compromise that you are both comfortable with.
And so our advice to you is to manage your expectations and be patient. We all want our college student to fall back into the role that they occupied before they left for college, but that is not always the case. You sent them away expecting that they would continue to grow and learn to become an independent and successful adult and hopefully that has begun, so expect that there will be some change. Let them sleep and be a little lazy, after all they have had to adjust in many ways while being on their own and now they are back in their safe home cocoon. In giving them a little space you show them that you respect them. That respect goes a long way in them being able to reintegrate into family life in a new role as a college student and member of the family.Tags: college student, curfew, sleep, Thanksgiving Break, transition