Our family expert, Sheryl Bautch from the Family Serivice of Champaign County joins the Morning Show for this week’s Your Family and is discussing the relationship between parents and their children as they return home from school for the summer.
College students will soon be returning home for the summer. Sometimes there is a difficult period of adjustment for both the family and the returning student, but good communication regarding mutual expectations can help make the summer enjoyable for the whole family.
How the child spends his/her time is often a point of contention. Parents assume their child will spend time with the family and participate in planned summer activities, such as the family vacation. The child, however, may have a summer job and want to spend time with friends instead of with the family.
Household rules: While away at school the student has been enjoying her freedom, with no one knowing when she’s coming or going. When at home for the summer, parents may expect the child to observe a curfew and want to know what she is doing and with whom.
Household chores: Parents may expect the child to once again assume his share of household chores, while the student thinks he is on summer vacation and should be exempted from these responsibilities.
Changes in the household: While the student has undergone many changes away at school, she expects everything and everyone at home to be exactly the same. Any changes in family routine or tradition- or even to her bedroom- may be upsetting to her.
The key is good communication and compromise. At the beginning of the summer, sit down and discuss activities and events in which you would like your child to participate, including family vacations. Find out what your child’s work schedule will be and if she has any plans with her friends. Compromise so that your child can do some of both activities. Discuss your expectations regarding curfews and help around the house, but don’t expect to treat your child as you did when he was in high school. You have to accept that he is becoming an adult and treat him accordingly, but he also needs to respect the needs and routines of the family.