December is here and its around the time when your children are coming back from college. For some of you parents out there, this might be the first time your kids might be coming back and for those parents here are some things that you should know:
1. Your kids will have changed
The first thing you will notice will a stark change, both in physical shape (freshman 15) and in their overall confidence. They will sound more mature (some will also have a feigning accent) and most importantly you might face attitude thanks to the new found confidence of completing a new semester
2. The Holiday Frenzy is not for anyone
Some teens are happy to get caught up in all the family traditions while others suddenly scoff at them. Discuss what yours is up for.
The underlying issue usually involves having enough time with friends rather than an outright rejection of you or the festivities. Alleviate some stress by highlighting the activities and events where you require your teen’s presence and the ones they can choose whether to attend.
3. Post Holiday Blahs
After New Year’s Day, everyone in your household will head back to work or school—except your college student. They’ll still be staying out late with their friends, sleeping until noon and coming and going on their own time (unless they have a job). Talk with your teen about how this will all work, especially if everyone will be sharing cars or your house has a few light sleepers.
4. When Boredom Sets In
As most of their friends return to college or the ones who commute start their second semester, your freshman might complain, “There’s nothing to do here.” They’ve had their fill of home cooked meals, sleeping in and a pile of clean laundry always at the ready. At college, there’s rarely time to get bored and always someone around to talk to or hang out with. Not much you can do but offer suggestions, but I can tell you now, the one about cleaning their room probably won’t go over well.
5. Some kids don’t want to go back
For any number of reasons, college wasn’t what they expected and they’re thinking of transferring for next fall. Make a point of discussing with your freshman what didn’t work out to determine how to find a better fit. Keep in mind that if next semester goes better, which it often does, your teen may decide to stay put.
6. Grades come in online
When we were in college, semester grades arrived in the mail via USPS. There was no hiding the results from our parents. Today, like everything else related to college, grades are sent electronically, within days after final exams, to your student’s account.
Ask your teen to pull up their grades online and go over them together. Reviewing the results could lead to a constructive discussion. Who knows, you might be pleasantly surprised by what you learn.
With some flexibility and a willingness to negotiate on both sides, winter break can turn into more of the fun time you hoped for.