Coming Home for the Holidays!
The holidays are approaching and I am so excited to see my college kids! Well, sort of. We have gotten used to a routine without them and honestly a much cleaner house. Do you have this kind of conflicted tug on your heartstrings when family comes home from college and kids are home from school breaks?
As students get excited for the holidays and receive long academic breaks, it can be a time that adds stress to the family household. Elementary students are exploding with timeless energy while anticipating the events of the season. High school and college students are planning their off time with friends. Maybe they are even inviting out of town friends to stay at home with them. Or they are frantically studying for their final exams and can’t even respond to your calls about their plans for the break. You are anticipating the onslaught of entertaining, messes and the joy it all brings.
You are pre-occupied with navigating the holiday to-do list and your tolerance is low.
The stress can affect even the most “chill” family in a negative away.
Here are a few ways to be proactive and set the tone for a smoother holiday season this year.
Kick it off with setting some time aside to talk about important issues that will help create a peaceful season.
For many high schoolers and returning college students, it will be a time they feel a justified freedom from the responsibilities of school and routines. Parents may see it as a time to be extra vigilant with their expectations around the household. This can lead to family tension. By taking some time to sit down with your high schooler or college student to go over family rules and routines, you can create the environment you desire during the holiday
Curfews, sleep and chores
This season try to involve them in re-establishing and/or creating the expectations during this time off from their academics. Parents need to give some of the responsibility of creating rules, consequences and privileges to their teens and young adults to promote their newly acquired independence. Learning how to discipline oneself is an essential skill that can only be taught through experience. For example, continue to expect your teen to take responsibility for chores around the house when returning from college. A way to engage your teen might be talking about how everyone who lives in a home is responsible for maintaining that home . Therefore, everyone has chores, even those who have busy schedules. Ask for their input.
Here are some good points I have found to help when addressing the rules and routines:
- A key for parents is to use your “active listening skills.”
- Identify what your Goals are: ie…curfew time, chores
- Create possible scenarios with choices to be made ie…movie goes past curfew and they have a family car. How do I handle this? Go home on time, Decide to be late, call to explain,
- Evaluate the decision consequences: get grounded, car taken away, get to stay out later
Here is an excellent reminder for teens in concluding the discussion:
Freedom equals responsibility
The Responsibility is:
- important in your family relationship, at school, at work,
and in relationships.
- Proves your dependability, reliability, and will earn you trust
Research shows that youth problems are less likely to occur when parents communicate clearly and provide consequences for inappropriate behaviors. Besides, clear communication and active listening strengthen the bond between parent and teen. Help your teen handle the stress of these life changes and adjustments by building their confidence with reminders of their life skills, abilities, and listening to their ideas while allowing them to make their own expectations during the holidays.
While we rush through the holidays, this may seem like too much work. Weigh it out. The outcome may be a positive experience that is worth the effort. Knowing they have your trust, love and support and yet firm rules will help them transition into more responsibility. This may be just the right time to lean in on them and will help create a peaceful holiday season.
Michelle R. Raz, M.A. Ed., is a professional executive function coach and educational consultant. Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, PTSD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog or purchase my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose. It is packed full of exercises and strategies you can put to use immediately.