The return of the college student during the holiday season is a very exciting time.  Many of our youngsters have been away at school for the first time and are eager to come home to visit with their family and friends.

College students who return home are usually not the high school graduate that you dropped off at college. They have experienced independence while at school. Once they are back home even just for the holiday, many of the house rules once enforced no longer apply to them. For example, they are on their own timetable when they are away at school and return back to their dorm whenever they want. No curfew exists. We as parents have very different expectations and do not always recognize the transition of high school student to college independent student.

An adjustment is necessary on both sides … student and parents. Discussing a reasonable curfew and coming to a mutual agreement is necessary. Although difficult to accept, we can no longer demand a certain time and expect them to comply. As parents, we can lose sleep when our college student is back and visiting. We may stay up waiting for them thus finding this to be stressful. Have a conversation about texting you if they are going to be returning later than anticipated.

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Another change that occurs is that we eagerly wait for them to come home and look forward to spending time with them, however, friends become the priority. Once they are home they want to visit with all their friends from high school and catch up. It is natural and to be expected. Once you are aware of this, you will not be disappointed when they aren’t hanging out with you.

Although your college student has now changed and has become more independent and mature, it is not unreasonable to expect that they contribute to the household chores. Delegating and giving the responsibilities while home should be discussed with an appropriate expectation.

Setting some simple rules and discussing these rules in an adult manner can make this transition and visit much easier. Expecting your child to step back into their pre-college family roles is unrealistic. Life will just not be the way it was before they left for school.

At the Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, New Jersey, we have a team of licensed professionals available day, evening and weekend hours. Call us at 908-322-0112 or visit us www.hellenictherapy.com or on Facebook.