College breaks often mean an opportunity for parents to get their kids back, that is, until their child comes home, has plans with their friends, and is barely at home. It may take some time to consider what this means for you. Do you mind if your child comes home and spends every minute with friends? Do you have expectations for them when they do arrive at home? Will the same rules apply that were in place while they were in high school, because your relationship has changed and their lifestyle has changed, you may find that college breaks are quite different from what you expected.
Finding Out Their Plans
When your child begins to come home for college breaks, it will be important for you to talk with them. Even before they come home, find out what their plans are. Will they be working? Will they be staying home most of the time? Do they plan to head out with friends? By talking with them, you are letting them know that you are conscious of their needs to be with friends when they come home from school. Yet, it also gives them the opportunity to let you know they will be around for you too.
Some students need to work when home for college breaks and will make this a priority. Other students will want to stay home, especially on their first college break knowing that they are at home. Yet, by far most students will be planning to do what they want. As their parent, you can make your wishes known and you should, but they are adults now. Handling this will be different from handling other situations.
Welcoming your son or daughter home from college during breaks may mean a refresher on rules. The rules may not be as enforceable as they once were, but most students realize the importance of keeping mom and dad happen during breaks. Let them know what you expect, but be open to allowing them freedom. This is the best time for you to allow your child to explore their world and yet to feel comfortable enough to come home.
In most families, it is expected that the college student would be present for special events and for important dates. Be sure to let your student know that you do expect this from them. Let them know that you would like them to spend a few nights at home with them so that you can bond and be a family together. Younger brothers and sisters may also play a role in your goals. They can often miss their siblings just as much as you do. Yet, they may not be willing to express it as well. Be sure that your college student realizes this.
Too Much Need
There may be a time when there is just too much on their shoulders to fit everything in. In some situations, bring your college student home may be a short enough trip that they just want to sleep and relax. They may not have time to do much more. During longer summer breaks and holidays, they may have planned trips with friends, perhaps even going to travel to Europe while they are out of school. These types of events limit the amount of time that you may have with your college student. College breaks are not just for mom and dad, though. In most families, giving your child freedom like this will be hard, but it is also part of life.
Are you planning a party to welcome your college student home on break? Be sure to let them know this first prior to doing so. Most kids will be coming home after long tests and will be tired and worn from weeks of hard studying. Others may be unable to deal with large family gatherings at first. It is important to welcome them home but also to give them room to breathe while they are at home.
College breaks are just that breaks. As their parent, do not expect too much but do let them know what you would like to see from them over this short amount of time. They will appreciate knowing you want them home, too.