Beware of Hidden Landmines
Your college freshman is coming home for the holidays, now what? Having the time to reconnect and visit is very enticing. But this time is filled with lots of hidden landmines. Your child has been on their own with no curfews, no one to report to, enjoying total freedom. The dynamics have changed and whether we as parents want to admit it, so have our children. So, how do you navigate this new twist to your relationship?
Remember the Key Term – Respect
The key term to remember during this time is respect. Once your child has returned and settled in it is time to sit down and discuss the parameters of this new phase of your relationship. By discussing expectations at the beginning of the visit you can set the tone for a very enjoyable break. Keep in mind that the discussion is a two – way talk, your student will also have expectations and requests that need to be heard and honored.
Communication is Highly Important
Prior to the conversation it would be wise to let your child know that you’d like to talk about their time at home and what plans they have. In giving them an opportunity to think about their plans, the discussion will be more productive and they will not feel ambushed. The goal is to tackle this new territory together. Your parenting role has shifted now and getting used to this new role will require you to spend some time determining what you want this new part of the journey to look like. I really encourage you to put thought into this; purposeful parenting should always be your motto!
Don’t leave this visit to chance. Don’t wait until your expectations are not met to talk with your student. Chances are if you do you will be feeling disappointed and angry and this is not a good recipe for building a strong relationship. Together you and your child can determine a level of understanding that will allow both of you to enjoy the holidays and your time together!