Parent Update

Friday, November 30, 2012

Home for the Holidays: Tips for Parents

Editor's Note: We offer this article every year at this time as it provides great advice and some helpful suggestions as families anticipate having their student home for an extended time over the holidays.
By Heidi Malat, Director of Counseling Center

This is the time of year when first-year students are making plans for Christmas break. If not attending January-term classes, 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 has most likely evolved into a slightly different person since she left your home four months ago. 

Your daughter has had many opportunities to grow on an intellectual, social and personal level. 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 at the same time be respectful to family rules. The key to having a good break will be effective communication and building an atmosphere of respect for all involved.   

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 lots of opportunities to relax and reconnect!
* 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

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