Lisa writes: Our college kids. We love them, we miss them — and then, when they come home for school breaks… we are ready to kill them. At Grown and Flown, we have explored life through these tumultuous years as we help our kids ready themselves for the adult world.
Here are some things to remember:
1. College kids love us but they love their friends too
Don’t be hurt when they give you the hello and goodbye and head straight out the door to see their old high school buddies.
2. They have spent a semester (at least) reinventing themselves and may look a tad different
Perhaps don’t lead with “OMG, you got your nose pierced!”
3. Alcohol is very much part of college life
They drink at school, they will want to drink at home. Get the family policy ready.
4. They may now have a girlfriend or boyfriend with whom they are sleeping at college
See above, get the family policy ready.
5. Cooking and cleaning, however, are not part of college life
After three months of cafeteria food they will have remembered how much they love your home cooking and forgotten how to put dishes in the dishwasher or where the recycling and garbage recycling and garbage are located. You will need to remind them.
6. Overcook for your college kids
Family dinner may be at 7:00, but around about 2:00 am college kids get hungry again. Leftovers will be very much appreciated.
7. Prepare to share the family car
If you are suburban dwellers and used to having your own car, the return of the college student can be a bit of a monkey wrench. Tell them you are happy to share an automobile with those who leave gas in the car, but not garbage.
8. If there are younger siblings in the house
…particularly those still in school and studying, the noise of the night late hours, odd eating times and alcohol consumption might not be the best example. College kids may need to be reminded that younger brothers and sisters are not roomates and should not be treated as such.
9. Money may be a new issue
At school your student may be on a meal plan and living on or near a campus that has relatively cheap entertainment. Back home they may have different ideas of entertainment that will need to be carefully budgeted before the party begins.
10. Many colleges have long breaks extending for three, four or even five weeks
College kids home for that long can easily get restless and bored, irritating the adults in the family for whom life has proceeded as usual. Make a plan with your kid on how this block of time will be spent.
11. Take a deep breath before responding to snide or cynical comments
…and don’t take them personally, regardless of how sharp the barb. You are readjusting to each other. Once the heat of the moment has passed, remind them of the correct way to speak to adults.
12. Enjoy every minute
These years are few and waning. After college your child may find a job and an apartment in a different town or simply be too busy at a new job to spend long luxurious weeks at home. While your house may be turned upside down with noise at all hours and an empty refrigerator, just try to remember how much you are going to miss this.
Do you remember visits home from college? How did your new independent life fit back into your parents home? How will you manage this with your kids?