Surviving the Break with Your College Students – MBFLP 287

The holidays are upon us and we are looking forward to having our college students home again! But to be realistic, there’s always a transition to bringing our young adults back into the household – and often both the student and the family ends up frustrated. This episode we’re talking about things you can do – on both sides – to make the visit as smooth and pleasant as possible for everyone!

Parent Understanding

If you went to college, you remember the rush of exam week – and the mental and physical exhaustion at the end of it! Especially at Christmas and the end of the spring semester, your student will be arriving after a really tough week or two. We try to keep that in mind for their first several days home.

Expectations

Our unspoken hopes and preferences can set us up for disappointment and conflict. Maybe we parents look forward to seeing our young adult, but we’re also looking forward having his help around the house again! For his side, maybe he’s hoping for some relaxation from the stress of college — or possibly, he has projects or homework to finish during his holiday. Maybe the younger siblings want a lot of attention from their big sister, when she really needs some peace and personal space – at least at first.

The best way to deal with these issues is to communicate ahead of time – gently, in love – and be willing to listen to one other and seek to accommodate everyone. All of those expectations are common and valid – the difficulty is how to address them all. If we cultivate patience and understanding together, we can probably find a mutually agreeable pathway.

Changing Channels

When Hal was working a corporate job, he had to remind himself on the commute home, “I have to leave the office door closed behind me and put on my family hat now.” No matter what stress or disaster he’d left at work, when he came in the door, he knew the kids would be excited to see him, Melanie would be tired and need compassion, and he’d have to be ready to show love and concern to everyone at home.

Our college students need to think about that, too. While they’re making the trip home, they need to consciously prepare themselves to be part of the family culture at the end of their trip. The way they live or even just survive on campus is a separate issue to what happens at home — and they need to change gears before they get here.

In both cases there will be time and opportunity to share their struggles and disappointments, to seek advice and sympathy, but that will come after the initial rush of returning. Everyone will be happier at the end if the wanderer is ready to greet and be greeted first, and then seek the serious conversations after!

We dig deeper into the questions in our blog post here

And a word from our sponsor, Affirm Films’ 5000 Blankets – coming soon to select theaters, December 12 and 13

Tickets and showtimes here!


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