I'm also anxious. Sure many college kids are happy - they are coming home, semester is over - it's winter break - tests are over - they get to bring home their weary minds and their dirty clothing and sleep and eat and get taken care of......by mom. Some kids cannot wait to experience this re-connection and the space between school and vacation time. For others, it's a bit more difficult.
Some kids find it hard to come to families and home. Maybe they still have memories of arguments and control issues. Maybe the extremes of the holiday season - food, alcohol, partying, seeing all the family members ALOT, expectations - it's all a bit much for them after having separation and independence at college.
Other stressors, according to experts, include:
Lack of money to buy gifts
Not feeling as jolly as they are being told they should feel
Experiencing the meaning of holiday differently now that they are young adults
Having difficulty with family dynamics
Overindulgences (food, alcohol)
Feeling rushed and managed
Feeling frustrated (that they can't celebrate the way they would like)
Conflicted about seeing old friends
Experts suggest that parents "get smart" and tap into their college age kids and ask:
What fills you in terms of the holiday spirit?
What do you want in terms of scheduling?
Do you need some alone time or time to "do your own thing?"
Shall I tell you what we planned and you can add/offer suggestions?
do you have certain priorities you need to meet during this break?
Other tips to parents are to turn obligations into energizers -give
your homebound collegiate a to do list but let them put their own spin on it; help them to turn contacts into "positive contacts" by really listening to what they do and don't want to do or giving them some leeway on how they want to interact with family.
Published On: October 31, 2008