College students moving home for the summer can be an adjustment for everyone–parents, students, siblings. A little thinking and running conversations can help smooth the 3 month vacation.
While returning to the comfort of a childhood bedroom can be enticing, after the nostalgia passes, students can also remember the limitations of “living under mom and dad’s roof”, causing friction. Parents, excited to see college student daily after months long absence, may quickly tire of late night returns home and cash missing from their wallets. Siblings who got used to mom and dad’s undivided attentions may begin wondering when college student will be leaving again, sooner rather than later. The relationship between parent and child is shifting, just as much the result of maturity, as circumstances, yet the growing pains may be a difficult adjustment for both. Co-habiting rules may need changing; questions like, is a curfew needed, just for respect that the family household functions on a different time table, than a dorm? Does college student need a job to help pay for spending money over the summer and begin saving for the next school year? What’s the standards about sharing a car, not only between parent and child, but amongst siblings? How much responsibility should older sibling college student take for caring for younger siblings, now that they’re back home?
In the short term, a conversation about how to live together during summer breaks will help create balance in the family household. In the long term, the support of family during the summer months can help college students gain perspective and benefit from mom and dad’s guidance about life and careers.
Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, is a University of California and Harvard trained educator and Partner at Creative Marbles Consultancy. She advises families and schools, as they make complex educational choices. You can contact Jill at firstname.lastname@example.org or, read her short biography.