What should you do with your "boomerang kids" who come home from college for a place to stay over the summer?
The first piece of advice for parents and students alike: be mindful of the transition. Parents can't revert to treating their children the way they did in high school, and college students need to remember that they aren't living in a dorm any longer.
The biggest gripe on both sides seems to be a pronounced, unwelcome lack of privacy.
Parents feel they need to know where their kids are and what they're up to while they're under the same roof. The children are confused because they haven't had to check in for the last nine months.
It's also clear that while their kids are at college, most parents operate under the premise of "what I don't know won't hurt me" and intentionally choose not to ask too many questions about their social life at college. But now they're home and their life is in full view-it's impossible for them not to ask.
Parents can even become resentful of the changes and concessions that need to be made when their child or children return to their recently regained physical space.
Many of the challenges faced by parents can be avoided if you follow these simple rules:
Avoid asking too many questions: Parents want to make sure there is a return on their college investment and are often anxious whether their children will land a job or have plans for graduate school. Students often feel that these conversations turn into interrogations, and everyone leaves unhappy.
Negotiate responsibilities: Some students act as if they are guests. They don't feel the need to do chores.
Establish boundaries: Life is different now, and parents often feel that they are walking on eggshells. One minute their kid is an independent soon-to-be college graduate, and the next they've regressed into childish, passive-aggressive behavior.
Don't bottle up negativity: Your best bet is to set the tone from the outset, make your expectations known and try to discuss issues openly.
Celebrate the upside: Once the dust settles, you'll enjoy spending time with your young adult children. Many parents say they enjoy the company of their grown up children in a way they never anticipated.
Guess what? You'll have to go through the whole "letting go" process again when they return to college.