One strange thing that happens in college is learning how to balance your new independence with the fact that you are typically still under your parents’ authority. While not all people can or want to continue to keep in contact with their families during college, a lot of us have daily/weekly/monthly phone calls back home and are somewhat dependent on parents to pay for school.
Even if you are fully funding your education, you might still move back in with your parents during the summer to save some money. Going from living on your own terms to feeling like you’re in high school again may seem rough, but if you come back home with an open mind you might be able to avoid some drama! Here’s how to deal with the situation:
This is a huge one that I’ve heard about. A lot of my friends go back home during the summer and have a curfew enforced, even though they stay out late in college. I can imagine that this is upsetting for students who feel as though their parents are taking away their freedom.
One of the things that helps is open communication. If your parents tell you that you have a curfew, take a deep breath and think about what this means. I know some people who never stay out past 11, yet are still upset about a midnight curfew! If your curfew is reasonable and you don’t imagine yourself needing to exceed it very often, you may be able to open the conversation up to special occasions where you ask for permission to stay out late. If you abide by the regular time on most days, your parents may be more willing to give you slack when you politely ask for it.
If you don’t think your curfew is reasonable (say, 9pm), avoid falling into the trap of claiming you are an adult who can do what you want. A lot of times instinct will cause you to say “but I’m in college! I stay out however late I want for nine months of the year. I’m an adult.” This argument probably isn’t going to get you anywhere, and may cause your parents to wonder what you’re doing out so late! Instead, be honest and let your parents know exactly why you want to stay out later. If you say “I plan to have movie nights at Jenna’s house and she lives thirty minutes away,” they may understand and push your curfew back an hour.
Letting the dishes pile up during finals week is completely acceptable behavior, but once you return home it’s a different story. You will probably be expected to help out with the shared spaces of your family’s home, even though you may feel like a transient visitor who’s only there for a few months.
The best thing to do is have a conversation as soon as you come home about what your parents expect from you. If you think your room should be off-limits to cleaning checks, let them know that. Remind your parents that for the past year you haven’t been accountable to a higher authority figure when it comes to cleanliness, so you may not remember exactly what chores should be done. They can help you create a list, or even take some of the load off your plate.
Inviting Friends Over
Most people pretty much expect to have friends over at least once a week in their dorm or apartment during college. When you go back home, you may freak out your parents if you suddenly invite your whole crew up to your room and shut the door.
When you get home, talk to your parents and let them know how often you expect to have friends over, how late they’ll be staying, and what you guys are doing. This kind of honesty could prevent your parents from being suspicious, and will allow you to come to a compromise before you have your friend group waiting outside in the car. If your parents don’t want you to have friends over, then ask if you could possibly move the hangout to someone else’s house.
Too Many Questions
I think something that everyone has to deal with is the litany of questions thrown at you when you arrive home. “How was the semester? Are you seeing anyone? What do your grades look like? Did you party?”
My mom isn’t the best at keeping up with me during the school year, so if I go home it’s like 20 questions + 100 more. It’s easy to get frustrated and say “I don’t answer to you, leave me alone.” Just remember that your parents probably missed you and cherish the fact that you’re back under their roof… if only for three more months.
Even if the reason you don’t want to answer their questions is because you don’t think you should have to, they may feel like you’re deceiving them or hiding something. If you do come to an uncomfortable topic, don’t be rude or defensive. Instead, say something along the lines of “I’m not quite ready to discuss this” or “This is a topic that is personal for me, I’d prefer if we didn’t talk about it right now.”
The best strategy for moving back in is to communicate. Once you have all your stuff put back where it belongs, see if you can sit your parents down to discuss the rules of the house. Just remind them that you have in fact survived on your own for nine months, so locking you in your room for the summer isn’t helpful in the long run!
Are you moving back in with your parents for the summer? Have you come across any of these problems? How do you deal? What advice would you like to share? Tell us what you think by leaving a comment.