Friday, December 17, 2010

Tips for Parents - Coping with Winter Break

Cory will be coming home for Winter Break this weekend. He would be home tonight because his last final is over at 5, but he has to be there tomorrow for auditions - so we'll go get him tomorrow evening. When I got the following article in an email today, I thought the timing could not be more perfect.  I'm pretty sure it was planned that way!

If you've got a college student coming home for Winter Break, perhaps some of these tips will be helpful for you, too.
Tips for parents – coping with your child’s return from college for winter break
By Dean Tsouvalas, Editor in Chief of

As the fall semester draws to a close and freshman students deal with the stress of finals for the first time, parents everywhere are looking forward to their kids coming back home for an extended stay for the holidays. But as any parent that has celebrated their own child’s return can tell you, the scene may not be as idyllic as you’ve imagined.

We’ve got some tips for parents to help keep this happy time happy for everyone.

Be realistic with the rules – Your child has likely lived without rules about curfews, phone usage, Internet and TV restrictions (and more) for the last few months. Thinking of suggesting the same rules that applied when they were in high school? Expect that to go over like a lead balloon. Instead, have a discussion with your child when they first return home (before they head out to see their friends) and be prepared to compromise. Do your best to let go of parenting patterns that don't work with a fellow adult. If you tell your child what to do, nag him about his appearance, or do his household jobs for him, you are setting him up to fall back into a child-like role and childish behavior

Carve out some time – Your child is more than likely looking forward to connecting with their hometown friends as much (if not more) than they are looking forward to seeing you while on break. The best way to ensure that you get some quality time with your son/daughter? Make a “date”! Plan in advance to take them out for coffee, out to dinner – even to the mall to return the gifts they didn’t love. By planning in advance, you’re showing your kid that spending time with them is a high priority – and it will remind them to make it a priority for themselves, too.

Let’s all let loose – Think back to your first year in college, and how “adult” you felt. Know that your child is feeling the same way! You’re both entering the next phase in your relationship – when you can start to relate as adults. Now is a great time to let loose… a little bit. Share some stories about yourself at that age (edit where necessary), don’t freak out when they talk about being out till 3 am - now that your kid is out of the house and grown, you can be a bit “cooler.” All within reason, of course! (No need to be Dina Lohan).

Prime for a refresher – While being “cool” has its advantages, you are still (of course) first and foremost a parent. The things that worry you most – are they eating well? Getting enough sleep? Keeping out of trouble? – are going to keep worrying you, no matter how old your child gets. Your son/daughter will be more relaxed on break than they have been all semester, so now is a great time to do a little digging. Talk about your recent health kick and the healthy things you’ve been eating, how you read that getting less than 8 hours of sleep can be bad for your health, etc. By making the focus on YOU, you’re leading by example and can draw your child into talking about the things that concern you without seeming like “a nag.”

Be gentle with your spouse. Having grown children at home can increase the frequency of arguments among married couples, especially over finances and chores -- the very issues that you may not be discussing openly with your kid.
With everything else you have on your plate this holiday season, no one needs the stress or hassle of fighting with their kids. Take time to step back and admire the wonderful child you’ve raised!

1 comment:

  1. As a parent of students currently home this is incredibly helpful - especially the last point. I think they can't wait to get back to school as much as us!


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