Thanksgiving is usually the first time that students return home since having left for college. Although it has only been a few months since they first left home, both students and parents often feel like things are different. For students, it might be the new couch in the living room, or even the younger sibling who’s laid claim to their bedroom. Parents also begin to realize that their student is not the same person they helped move into that college dorm only a few months ago. In addition to dealing with massive amounts of student laundry (don’t forget to stock up on the detergent!) the following are some ideas of what parents and students can expect when students fly home to the nest for the first time.
I’m an Adult Now
There is the urge to treat your child as if they never left home so be conscious if you have a sudden urge to over-parent your child. While it may seem logical to you that you student can help out with chores, or that you can finally provide in-person feedback on study habits and social schedules, students may resent being treated as if they’ve never left home. You’ve spent the last few years preparing them for college and becoming independent; Thanksgiving is that first real test of your new adult-to-adult relationship.
Family Time Versus Social Schedules
Students coming home will be eager to hang out with their old friends, compare notes on college experiences and enjoy their newly-found sense of independence. Parents, on the other hand, see their student’s return as a time for the family to catch up and spend time with each other. Seeing familiar places- the old high school, the old social hangout, the old home- can be a difficult experience for many students, and sharing this experience their friends is important. Making sure there is a balance between family time and social schedules is important to ensuring a happy and healthy holiday.
Leaving Again Can Be Hard
With cleaned clothes in tow, the time has come for your son or daughter to hop on that bus, climb aboard that train, or into the car and head back to school. Often, this good-bye can be harder for both parents and students than when they moved to college at the beginning of the fall. Although difficult, this is perfectly normal. If you or your student might feel upset, remember that Christmas is only a month away!