Home for the Holidays

Posted October 28th, 2009 by collegemomindebt and filed in Parent to Parent
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Before your college student daughter (or son) comes home for the holidays there are some things you should probably tell her such as:

  1. We’ve remodeled your room – it is now an office.
  2. You will be bunking in your sister’s room.
  3. Most of your things are stored in boxes in the garage.  You can retrieve them when you graduate and get your own place to live.
  4. Your dog has something like Alzheimer’s and may treat you like a stranger.
  5. Your sisters have been waiting for you to get home.  They expect you to empty the dishwasher and scrub the tubs again.
  6. You’re right – life is not fair – I am raising your younger siblings differently than I raised you.
  7. I never said I knew everything.  You just thought I did until you got to college and learned better.
  8. That new vocabulary you’ve learned at school can be used at home if it is said in a respectful manner (and is acceptable in mixed company who actually know what you’re saying) just in case I should accidentally begin repeating what you’re saying.
  9. The hours you kept at school will not be the hours you keep at home.
  10. What you ate at school will not be what you eat at home unless you pay for it, cook it and clean up afterwards.

Humor aside, it is important to share with your student any changes that have been made in their absence and to exchange expectations for how the time at home will be spent.  Health changes in any member of the family, pets or close friends or associates are especially important to share.

Waiting at the Airport

While at home your student will want to participate in some of your family’s holiday traditions but also will want to spend time reconnecting with friends from high school and the community.  Talking through the family calendar and how your student will reintegrate into that calendar will save a lot of grief.
It is also important for you to be aware that your student may look, talk, walk, dress and eat differently than before she went away to school.  Some students gain the “Freshman 10 to 50” pounds and others may lose weight.  It is also not uncommon for them to have a radically new hair style and perhaps hair color.

It is also important to know that your student may get sick while at home.  I know that nearly every holiday when I came home after a semester away I would be sick for at least three days.  At school I couldn’t afford to get sick, but when I got home and knew I was finally in a place where I’d be helped I could get sick.  I remember how frustrated my mother was when it would take the whole two weeks home just to get me rested and well enough to send me back to school, but I am so thankful she took this role in helping me be successful in college.

One note for you as parent is that it will help if you find other parents who have recently had children in college.  You can compare notes with them and hopefully find some ways to help your family make the transitions ahead with good humor and ease.

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