Avoiding Thanksgiving Clashes Between Parents and College Kids

<p>ZG has strep throat so I'm hoping she will come home and rest for a day or so. Not sure I'm optimistic, but I can hope.</p>

I haven't been happy with the way my son has handled communication with us and his siblings and plan to have a few words with him. My husband keeps warning me I have to approach the subject in a different way then I would have in the past.


<p>This is SO important. My H really taught me to reshape my communication with our kids. He just had the hang of it better with college agers from his work. I was still in schoolaged-mode. Especially when the younger sibs are in the house, you'll find you're bridging two different worlds, and that's fine but be aware that it sounds different.</p>

<p>I think you can speak to them about most anything, but my H has this beautiful way of getting the kids to identify the problem. The more they can name the problem, the better. Rather than giving them a few words (or a piece of his mind, which he can't afford to lose), he starts in some neutral zone, like, "It sure feels different around here, doncha think?" and gets them talking. He waits for them to hit upon some relative of what's bothering HIM.
Then he says, "Yes! I've been feeling that, too" and maneuvers the topic inside out somehow. He talks about the same issue from his point of view. They realize there's a difference of vision or feeling. THEN HE DOESN"T TRY TO FIX IT RIGHT THEN (key point). He says, "I wonder what can be done about it. Oh well, think about it..." Then he walks away. That magic phrase,
"think about it" worked many miracles in our home. Hours later, they'd be coming back to him with thoughts or solutions.</p>

<p>So he can turn a big brother complaining about "pesty, nonstop hanger on little brother" into a brainstorm about what would happen if the two of them went out together (on dad's money) for dinner and a movie with nobody else around.
Is that worth $30? I think so. They can re-bond better away from the house, because the house has all the old triggers and tapes.</p>

<p>If the "problem" is that both H and S both perceive Mom is cranky, H maneuvered it into S realizing she's not used to cooking on schedule so much any more. One year, the solution ended up being: drop me (the S) kid off at the grocery store to buy whatever groceries he wants for 4 days, including some conveniences. S walks in proudly as someone who solved a problem instead of causing it. </p>

<p>That became a highlight of every trip home for all. We used to send them both into the grocery store; eventually, all 3 went in, with $30 apiece to buy food for the house that weekend. We didn't fuss with them if we didn't like every product. The point is not to micromanage. The real product was giving them a new opportunity, out of our view, to interact and do something for the household together.</p>

<p>A new wrinkle: when middle D brought home a college boyfriend (sophomore Thanksgiving), that was truly hard on her big brother because his entire power balance went haywire. The little brother watched in awe, but for the older brother, this was a minefield of emotion.</p>

<p>D flew in Friday night; first time home since beginning of September. She is the only one in her group to go far away for school, and her friends are still in school through Wednesday. She spent the weekend visiting friends at 3 schools (one 45 minutes away, 2 two hours away). She is glad her friends enjoy their schools, but she realized how much more she likes her own. She came back today & has been very pleasant to all of us. She is looking forward to hanging with us this week. Because she isn't a partier at school, we have no issues with anything like that here at home. Basically, she is good company.</p>

<p>She still doesn't bother making her bed, though! Oh, and she has already turned wimpy ... she goes to school in SC, and she can't handle the MI weather anymore! She about froze to death at the football game.</p>

<p>... "the football game" being the UM-OSU game. 9th row. 32 degrees. And UM lost!</p>

<p>Ah families!</p>

<p>Paying3: Hm. I think I've noticed you using similar strategies in your posts to wonderful effect.</p>

<p>I'm lucky because D came home for S's fall break so we've all been together very recently.</p>

<p>When D came home for her first Thanksgiving she actually bonded with her friends more than she had in high school. She found that they had grown up to where she was and they suddenly had more in common. I was so happy for her, I didn't care how much time she spent with them!</p>

<p>S has preordered a few awful (by his own admission) videos he watched in his entry at school to show friends at home. So I know what he'll be doing. He thinks dissing awful movies the most fun activity in the world. One is Shark Attack 3, which I was informed is much better than 1 or 2.</p>

<p>We keep expectations low and distract ourselves; for example, we see movies on Thanksgiving. If we find activities we all like, everyone has a better time. And then the time flies. Well, that's sad or happy depending on point of view.</p>

<p>We change little things here just to amuse the kids and see which one notices first. New pictures in bathroom -- D, "Thank God. I was so sick of the old ones." Change in kitchen -- S, "Hey, when did you put the couch in the kitchen?"</p>

<p>Come to think of it, I have to think of something for tonight; they're both coming home tomorrow, and I still have to have time to watch Heroes.</p>

<p>Better go.</p>

<p>Personally I'd like to rename this thread "Avoid Thanksgiving Clashes Between Parents and Airlines". I can't tell you how much I loathe any airline other than Southwest. D1 had her flight from Syracuse to Chicago canceled tonight, but at least we got an automated phone call from them - in just enough time for me to tell her if she wanted to get home tonight (for much wanted hair appt. tomorrow and renewing her driver's license now that she's 21), she had to get in the car immediately and drive to Buffalo where the airline would get her on a flight. Thankfully that flight was delayed 30 minutes so she made it in time. Otherwise United wouldn't have gotten her out until tomorrow. When I was at O'Hare, looking at the United flight arrival board, it was sad how few cities had arrivals coming in to O'Hare tonight - this is going to be the beginning of a major snarl if they're already backing up now.</p>

<p>So, D was thankful to get home, I had her favorite food waiting, and now she's watching Heroes... happy to be here and not rushing off. Please, please... let D2 get home tomorrow - on United again.</p>

<p>As a college freshman, I was almost offended by this piece of media sensationlism. I realize that I am by no means representative of all college students as a whole, but I have not developed a hyper-self-dependent since being at college. I am just doing what I have always done: worked hard, maintaining the same values I've always entertained. Though I know that journalists rarely will purposely minimize the group of people about which they write, so I'm not surprised that this article pigeonholes all college students as rancorous and self-involved. Nonetheless, such articles always make me a bit queasy.</p>

<p>D had a fall break and her younger brother was in heaven.We made sure they had lots of time together so h & I went out alot. D slept alot and enjoyed the home cooking.She's coming back for thanksgiving and we'll all go to the movies thanksgiving day. I've noticed that she seems to miss my counsel lately and has been in touch more. We all know it is different now but we all enjoy the time we get to be together.</p>

<p>I'm interested in whether d has the same experience as mythmom's daughter with high school friends. Hope so.</p>

<p>Not having read the whole thread...realize that if the school isn't everything they hoped it'd be, they may become quite unhappy when it comes time to going back.</p>

<p>Someone above said to be aware that they won't be the same as they were when they left at the end of the summer. My feeling is.... thank goodness!! Our summer was stressful, to say the least! DD has come home a couple of times since school began (one as a surprise for my birthday!), and she has grown up so much. It is a real pleasure to be with her. All of the stress and tension is gone. As for getting together with her friends, I am with the above poster who hopes that some of the HS friends have also grown up, and that they can all still communicate. But that might not be the case for all of them. I think my D might already know that. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and may all your visits be sweet!</p>

<p>If our son(a college senior) is typical, the connections being made at college become more strong with each passing year. Our son is meeting us at my brother's house on Wed evening after his GRE's and returning to campus on Friday. Term break in Dec/Jan will probably be the same as he is gearing up to completer his sr thesis work.</p>

<p>Having said this, he still remains very close friends with most of his hs buds so I am sure he will blow into town for a week or two in Jan.</p>

<p>We picked up our daughter last Fri to go on a family vacation. She was exhausted with a cold when we picked her up. Now, after 3 days in the sun, eating right, she is feeling much better. We are enjoying her company and her sister is very happy to have her sister all to herself. This is the first vacation we've had since she went away. I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out. But it is working out well. Having some down time as a family is what we needed.</p>

<p>She is going to be home for 6 weeks after her finals. I think it's going to be a challenge. We probably will need to set some ground rules while she is home.</p>

<p>One suggestion: Do not simply apply all the rules that applied while your child was a high school student. Reconsider them carefully, and relax them if you can. For example, you might want to retain a curfew, but set a later one, and don't demand all the details of where your child will be. Don't enforce a bedtime--just a limit on noise. While I'm not at all suggesting that your child is a guest, consider what rules/expectations you would have for an adult guest who was staying with you. Couch the rules as "house rules," as distinguished from parental control, and you will probably get more cooperation. (Note: in general, you should live by the same rules--except for underage drinking and the like...these should be the rules applicable to adult family members.)</p>

<p>Only skimmed the threads, so if I missed this ...mea culpa. If they still are involved with someone give them the room to be with them. They miss us, but really miss their love...remember we were once that age too.</p>

<p>When DS came home for fall break, he went to his friend's house at 10pm and returned home at 3am! We had to have a little discussion about the difference between "college time" and "real-world time." I agree with Hunt - we will need to discuss house rules (ie we need to know where you are and when you expect to be home) but the curfew will be a thing of the past. It's simply about respect - giving us enough information so that we don't worry, and not disrupting those of us who live here and are not "on break."</p>

<p>I raced home from work and saw him for four minutes. Then he made himself a sandwich, took my car keys, and went to pick up his best friend from HS.</p>

<p>Really. Four minutes. Sigh.</p>

<p>When my daughter returned home from being abroad all summer, I was out on an errand and got back about 10 minutes after she arrived home. In the 10 minutes she was home, she had sort of exploded the contents of her luggage in the area where she entered the house into the kitchen from the garage, including all over the floor where you walk in, on the countertops, stove, etc. Within 5 minutes of my getting home, her two best friends marched into the house. She had called and invited them on her way home from the airport!</p>

<p>DD plans to call and visit one of her HS friends (still a senior) when she gets home - but her flight does not land until 11 PM. I had to remind her the rest of the world is not on college time. I think I get to see her on the ride home from the airport :)</p>

<p>My s went to a summer internship for 3 weeks. Drove 3 1/2 hrs to pick him up, hugged and kissed us immediately. Before the trunk was closed the texting started with friends. We arrived home @ 2 he left to be with friends by 2:30. At 2:31 I started the laundry dropped by the door (LOL)</p>

<p>I wish I could trade place with some of you.
When our D left for college about an hour away, I thought we would see her 2, maybe 3 times, before Thanksgiving. Instead, she has been quite ill and has spent almost as much time back home as on campus since September. When she is on campus, we phone and text-message each other several times a day to check on doctors appointments, lab reports and medical treatments. I relish the days when her symptoms abate and I do not hear from her. She left the house tonight to spend the evening with her friends back from college, and I was delighted to see her cheerful and able to go and enjoy herself away from me.
If you ever feel sorry for yourself because you have not seen much of your college-age child recently, think of some of the alternatives;-) It's Thanksgiving: count your blessings!</p>