Your Student’s First Extended Visit Home

Just as you’ve started figuring out what to do with the extra space and how to deal with the quiet, your student will be home for an extended stay. Even though they may have been home for a weekend or two, this is the first time you will have several days together and it will be a time of adjustment and re-acquaintance.

Parents and guardians are sometimes shocked by how much their students change in the first semester of college. Much of the change stems from developing an independent lifestyle and finding a persona that fits. What you may see at Thanksgiving is a blending of many different experiments and experiences. Try not to be alarmed at the change.

Remember that things at home have changed for your student, too, and they may feel a little insecure. For instance, things in the house may have been rearranged or added, siblings haven’t been an issue for several months, and there’s the struggle with the former rules that guided their life in high school.

Here are some helpful hints for surviving the vacation periods:
  • Expect them to sleep…a lot. They most likely are exhausted from papers and exams, as well as their active social life in the residence halls.
  • Establish new rules. Discuss things such as use of the car, curfews, and information sharing. Make sure you explain why there are new rules and why they are important.
  • Talk in advance about family obligations over the vacation period. Make sure they know that the family will be spending time with relatives outside of her time with her friends.
  • Discuss your expectations of household chores. Will they be expected to do their own laundry or assist with other things around the house?
  • Finally, they will want to show her independence. If their approach toward you has changed, try not to take their new attitude to heart. They just wants you to know that they are independent. Even so, they still need your guidance. Finding the right balance will take time and patience.