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When your college freshman comes home for Christmas

Follow this advice when your college freshman comes

Follow this advice when your college freshman comes home for the holidays. Credit: iStock

Q. My college freshman just got home for holiday break. I've heard horror stories of kids ignoring curfew, sleeping all day and leaving laundry and dishes in their wakes. How can I make sure the visit home goes well?

A. Discuss clear expectations, but remain willing to compromise, advises psychologist Luis Manzo, executive director of student wellness and assessment for the four St. John's University campuses in Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island and Oakdale.

While you may be expecting your child to adhere to the same rules that were in place in high school, your child has experienced enormous freedom on campus and may be expecting that same autonomy when returning home, Manzo says.

Discuss whether curfew time may change, or whether you will instead require your child to call and let you know where he is and what time he'll be returning. Discuss any required time to be up in the morning. Talk about household chores.

One common flashpoint is the amount of time kids want to spend with family versus former high school friends, Manzo says. "It's like a reunion for them," he says. Don't take it personally. Work out a schedule of friend time versus family events such as a trip to see Grandma.

Manzo also advises revisiting discussions about alcohol and safety. "Chances are your son or daughter has experimented with alcohol while away at school," Manzo says. Remind kids that underage drinking is illegal, and reiterate the dangers of drinking and driving, especially on New Year's Eve.

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