You, Your Parents, and Surviving Summer

Returning home for the summer after being away at college for an entire year can be a challenging transition. You are back in your parents’ home, but you’ve become used to making your own decisions and not having to be accountable to anyone about where you are or what you’re doing. Your parents, however, probably remember you as the high school senior who had rules and curfews, and they don’t necessarily expect that to change. Such attitudes about living at home for the summer from both sides can cause major tension, so it’s important to talk to your parents about your expectations and ask them what their expectations for you are.

Sitting down and talking with your parents about the summer is an important first step. Talk about everything, even little things you think might not matter. Ask if they expect you to have a curfew, let them know where you’re going and when you’ll be back, and if they expect you to ask permission not to attend events the rest of your family plans to attend. These are things that they most likely expected from you in high school, but that you have gotten used to ignoring in college. As a freshman, nobody checked to make sure you were in your room at 11 PM or came to find you if you didn’t go to class. Your parents are a little more likely to wonder about your whereabouts.

When you talk to your parents, keep in mind extenuating circumstances in your house. Do you rely on your parents for use of one of their cars, meaning you can’t always just leave or go somewhere when you want? Do you have much younger siblings that might result in your parents wanting you not to watch that R-rated movie in the living room? Simple things you might have forgotten about make a big difference, especially in households with younger children who have to keep some semblance of order even though you’re on vacation.

Whatever decisions you and your parents come to, remember that the summer after your freshman year is just a summer. It can be a lot of fun to get to hang out with your family and spend time with them, and this is a unique opportunity to spend time with your parents as more of an adult than a child. You can get to know them more as individuals instead of just your parents. The reverse, of course, is that too much togetherness can have you yearning for the freedom of college again. If you decide you hate it this year, then you can make other plans for next summer. No matter what, make the most of this summer and the experiences you can enjoy.

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