Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Wednesday 20 January |
Saint of the Day: St. Sebastian
home iconFor Her
line break icon

Is your college kid still acting like a kid?

TEENAGE BOYS,VIDEO GAMES

Shutterstock

Calah Alexander - published on 06/06/17

Here's how to set clear boundaries when your college kid comes home for the summer.

I love seeing all the Facebook updates from college kids, driving home for the summer with a backseat full of laundry baskets. It cracks me up every time, because I remember those days.

Less adorable are the updates from fellow parents, whose kids have come home for the summer and fallen right back into “kid” mode. Least adorable of all was the summer when we were visiting my parents and my little brother came home from college, hauled his laundry to the laundry room, and stood near it looking perplexed and pathetic until I took pity on him. (Okay, it was actually pretty adorable, but I’m making a point here.)


Family Chores

Read more:
What millennials can teach us about raising kids

Scary Mommy had a great post recently on how to survive summer with your college student, particularly their one-sided boundary-setting:

That’s right — our children have attempted to set boundaries for us, and when we inevitably trespass, we risk the accusation that we’ve somehow assaulted their fragile and budding adultness. Meanwhile, they traipse around our house dancing all over our rights like hippies at Woodstock in a rainstorm. It’s a bloody free-for-all around here for the millennials.

I will never forget my mom calling me right before Thanksgiving break after my first year of college, telling me that I absolutely had to come home and clean out my old bedroom over the break.

“But why?” I asked, baffled. “I’m still gonna come home for the summer and stuff, so why can’t you just leave my stuff there?”

It literally never occurred to me that since I had technically moved out, she might want to use that space for something — or someone — else. Or that she might just want it clean instead of letting it ferment. Even though I proudly proclaimed that I “didn’t live at home anymore,” I still thought of it as home. My dorm room felt more like an extended summer camp made especially for me, with glorious books and no hideous outdoor activities. I couldn’t conceive of not having a place in my home anymore.




Read more:
5 Kitchen tasks that will set your kids up for a healthy life

But my place was gone. My little brother took over my room, and when I came home for Thanksgiving I had to sleep in his old room. (My mom was kind enough to change the Power Rangers sheets, but still.) It was all for the best, though, since I never did move back home. I didn’t quite stop thinking of it as “home” until I got married, but moving back never seemed like an option after that. I had to make my own place, and I did.

There were other boundaries my parents set, like making me pay for groceries and (unlike my baby brother) do my own dang laundry, but none of them stuck with me like that first one. Giving me a new space as a transient “guest” rather than a permanent occupant was the most powerful boundary they could have set, because it was a clear demarcation of my transition from childhood to adulthood.

So if your college kid comes home bearing laundry and wants to be treated like both an adult and a child, that’s one way to set a boundary for them without nagging or arguing.

Just don’t make them sleep on Power Rangers sheets, though.

Tags:
Parenting
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
2
DAD, HOW DO I?
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on YouTube for kids with...
3
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
Reasons Catholics should read the Bible
4
MARTIN LUTHER KING
Jorge Graña
Did you know Martin Luther King appreciated the Rosary?
5
couple
Anna Gębalska-Berekets
Couple praises Padre Pio's recipe for a happy marriage
6
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
'An American Blessed': A documentary to thank God in 2021
7
ARTIST
Fr. Michael Rennier
What if you think you missed your calling in life?
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.