Monday, November 22, 2010
Home for the holidays: Tips for parents by Heide Malat, Director of Counseling Center
This is the time of year when first-year students are making plans for Christmas break. Many students who live on campus will choose to spend the six-week break living at home.
If this is the case for your family, it will be important to talk ahead of time about expectations. Why? Because your daughter most likely has evolved into a slightly different person since she left your home four months ago. She has had many opportunities to grow intellectually, socially and personally. She has been practicing her independence skills and has developed a lifestyle that involves more personal freedom.
Because of these changes, you may each have different ideas about how she will fit back into your home and family life. If you both want things to go smoothly over the break, it will be important for you to talk with her ahead of time about how your family can recognize and honor those changes while asking her to respect family rules. Effective communication and building an atmosphere of mutual respect are key to enjoying your holiday break.
The December page of the Parent & Family Association Resource Calendar contains some wonderful suggestions for parents who are welcoming their daughters home for Christmas break. I am listing them here as a reminder. I hope you and your daughter’s break is filled with joy, laughter and lots of opportunities to relax and reconnect.
HOW TO ENJOY THE HOLIDAY BREAK
* Your student most likely will expect to find everything just as she left it.
* She will want parents and family members to notice and respect that she has changed and become more independent.
* She might be trying out new things like hair styles, clothing or body art.
* Stay calm and keep communication lines open by talking and really listening.
* Be ready to compromise on details.
* Recognize that changes are important to your student's development.
* Keep your sense of humor and find a balance about expectations.
Source: Letting Go: A Parent's Guide to Understanding the College Years