Don’t Freak Out at Your Freshman
If you’ve got a college/university freshman in your family, fitting them back into your family with its old rules and expectations can upset everyone involved when kids come home for a weekend.
Your student may have new friends, new freedoms, maybe even a new look.
And while you might expect your student to come home, help around the house and participate in family activities and keep curfew, your son or daughter, who has been on his/her own wants to sleep late and catch up with high school friends.
The key is communicating with your child. Here are some tips to make your freshman’s visit home as stress-free as possible.
Tips for parents
- Respect your child’s new status as an adult. You sent him/her to a place that treats him/her as an adult, and you need to do that too.
- Don’t set a curfew, but asking your son/daughter to call if he/she expects to be later than a certain time. Explain that you worry about his/her safety and that this isn’t an unreasonable request.
- Say positive things, even if she’s dyed her hair purple or he’s tattooed his torso.
- Use your third ear — listen, listen and listen some more.
- Ignore unopened book bags.
- Give a big hug when he/she leaves and send him/her away with a care package of cookies, leftovers or a little extra cash.
Tips for students
- Talk with your parents about school, friends, finances, goals, your major and grades. They’re still your parents and want to be included in your new life. If you talk to them, the changes going on will be less scary for them.
- Prepare them ahead of time for changes in your appearance (piercings, tattoos, dyed hair) and give them some time to adjust if the change is drastic.
- Talk about how you want to spend your time over your break and be willing to compromise by setting aside some time for your friends and some time with your family.
- Respect their concerns for your safety and call if they’ve asked you to when you go out late with friends.