Whether you are the parent of a prospective or a currently enrolled student, your support and involvement is critical to your student's educational success.
This is an important time of growth and transition for your son or daughter and for your family.
They're Back: Transitioning From School to Home Over Long Breaks
You missed your son/daughter all semester. You may be looking forward to this holiday season as a chance to reconnect and begin a new chapter in your relationship with your young adult child. In order to optimize the chances of this holiday break going as smoothly as possible we would do well to follow a few helpful suggestions.
While at college your student has enjoyed and grown accustomed to great freedom. Our hope and expectation is that this freedom cultivates an ever-increasing attitude of responsibility. While there is a need for boundaries and guidelines whenever your adult child resides under your roof, imposing strict rules and regulations, especially those that were in place during high school, is a recipe for discontent at best and outright rebellion at worst.
Holiday breaks are a wonderful time for parents to transition into the role of "consultant" in relation to their adult children. Communicate openly and honestly with your student regarding expectations, schedules, and curfews (if any) as early as possible. Utilize a respectful and mature attitude; you can set the tone. Give your student choices as often as possible within the parameters of your comfort zone. Don't be afraid to ask them what their expectations are for the break.
Try your best not to focus too intently on academic performance. This may prove difficult, especially for parents of freshmen. Grades will come up sooner or later almost certainly. Attempt to engage your student in meaningful conversation with inquiries like:
- "Have you met any interesting people at school?
- What is the best/most enjoyable about college this semester?
- What is the worst/most stressful/most difficult thing about school?
- What have you learned about yourself this semester?"
You still may not get them to pour their heart and mind out to you but at least you have relayed that you are genuinely interested in their growth as a person, which is obviously one of the primary development goals in the college years.
Consulting with your student, discussing options that you are both comfortable with, and communicating with a sense of mutual respect are the keys to a harmonious and enjoyable holiday break time. I hope you all have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday.
Dr. Roger Lee, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students