You can't believe they have been away from home for an entire year. You've been counting down the days and can't wait to have them back at home and life to be back to what it used to be. Imagine your surprise when you realize life is completely different now and having them home isn't exactly the utopia you had pictured! Here's the good news, with a few tips you can have a new relationship with your college child and enjoy your maturing relationship and love having them home!
Do......honor their new found independence. Your child has just spent the last year learning how to take care of themselves, manage their time, and create balance between their studies and their social life. Let them know how proud you are of what they have accomplished on their own.
Don't......put the hammer down! Your child is used to making decisions for themselves now. Coming across as the decision maker without considering their input will definitely create conflict and ultimately negate the above mentioned Do that you are proud of their independence.
Do.....establish ground rules. Although you realize your child is used to coming and going as they please, it is important for you as a family to honor each other. It is important for your child to realize that their actions now affect others while they are home. If there are younger siblings in the house and working parents it is important to set boundaries regarding comings and goings, noise in the house, friends over, and anything else you think might create conflicts.
Don't......wait. Although you think you want to give your college child time to acclimate back to family life, the sooner you have that honest conversation regarding "family rules" for the summer the better. If everyone is on the same page than everyone knows what the expectations are.
Do.....love having them home and enjoy your young adult. This can be such an amazing time. Your child left home as a high school graduate and now is becoming an adult. My husband and I were constantly amazed by
the intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate humans that returned home to us every summer.