Wellness Corner: Your Empty Nest is Full for Summer, What Now?
Spring has sprung, and the young man or woman you sent off to college last fall will soon be returning home for the summer. You may notice many differences! Your daughter is used to eating meals when she wants to eat, not necessarily when the family typically eats. Your son cannot remember the meaning of the word “curfew” after months of making decisions on his own. Conflict can occur when the home lifestyle and the college lifestyle are out of sync.
So, what can you do?
Know that you are not being unreasonable! This is your home, and you probably don’t want people coming and going at all hours of the night. Communicate with your son or daughter about your expectations. Compromise and negotiation are key for both parties. Some areas to address are curfew, check-in, mealtimes, guests, chores, use of family car, and alcohol. Communicate regularly with your son or daughter regarding the risks of alcohol/drug use.Be aware of the signs of possible alcohol or other drug abuse:
- Lower grades
- Failure to fulfill major obligations (work, home, school)
- Reluctance to discuss friends and activities
- Trouble with campus authorities or other law enforcement
- Severe mood swings or changes in personality
- Hazardous use of alcohol or other drugs (i.e. driving or riding with someone under the influence)
- Stay involved and be available to your son or daughter for support and guidance. They still need you.
Keep lines of communication open. Text messaging is a great way to “touch base” while young adults are out and about. Be available to listen when they are ready to talk. Enjoy every moment you can with your emerging adult. They are learning a lot, both in and out of the classroom, and becoming the delightful people you always thought they would be.
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