29 May

Curfews & College: Rule Changes for Students at Home

Freedom is one of the biggest draws for living away from home. Most students look forward to finally escaping curfews, chores and the other demands of living under a parent’s roof.

But what do you do when your son or daughter comes home for the weekend, winter break or even for the whole summer? Should they still have all the freedom they had at school, or is it back to house rules?

Orientation to Adulthood

There is nothing wrong with laying down some ground rules when your student comes home. The truth (as we know all too well) is that adulthood doesn’t come responsibility-free, so asking your child – who has recently metamorphosed into an adult – to obey house rules is not out of bounds.

Make Rules Together

The days of “because I said so” are gone. It’s time to talk it out with your student. If you want to implement a rule, you need to back it up and let them know why. They’ll be much more likely to obey it if they understand your concerns and you understand theirs.

So when you’re setting a curfew because you’re concerned about them driving late at night, or setting a chore schedule because you need extra help now that the laundry loads have increased again, let them know.

It’s also important to have an open dialogue about the house rules. Let your student be a part of the process, and really be attentive when they share feelings or objections with you. Be willing to make some compromises when it seems appropriate.

Be Clear About New Family Roles

It can be a little disorienting for everyone when a student comes home for summer. Your family dynamic has probably shifted, and your student might feel a little out of place. Or, you might feel inclined to settle back into chauffeuring and laundry-folding mode. Either way, it’s important to let your student know that you respect him/her as an adult.

That means there will be changes they like, and changes they won’t. They’ll probably be relieved that you’ve given up wake-up-call duty, but might wish you’d keep supplying an allowance!

The compromised house rules might take some time for everyone to adjust, but this is normal for most families. If you keep your ears open and stay tuned in to what your student is thinking and feeling, you should be able to make the transition without too many bumps in the road. And don’t forget to make regular hugs and kisses for Mom and Dad a non-negotiable!

All the best,
Deborah Fox

photo: Carefull Looking by rikones

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