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They're Back! A parent's guide to college students returning home for the summer!

A Note from Nancy...

They're back!

Many parents around the country are experiencing the return of their children, only to find they aren't the same as they were when they dropped them off at college several months earlier. Students grow up in a hurry when they have to navigate life away from home on their own. They study, they sleep, they may party and hang out with friends whenever they want. Most learn through mistakes made and hopefully they have figured out how to balance their studies with their social lives. About the time they get in the groove of controlling their lives, it is time to go home for summer break! Re-entry can be difficult for both parents and their students.Families reuniting can be a time where there is wonderful happiness as they share stories of what college, the military or the mission field were like. Conversations about new friends, some of the classes they took and expectations from both sides as to what they want to do during the summer. The important idea here is that family, not self or power, take precedence over wants and desires. Yes there will be conflict. In our family, when conflicts arise with any of the family members, anyone can call for a family conversation. Everyone then has to come together at that moment and talk and resolve the issue. Sometimes these meetings lasted less than a minute and rarely over 10. This exercise is simple but greatly improved communication in our family. We also used family conversations to plan for trips, family obligations to others and working on a project together. You may want to try it out.The University of Pacific had some great suggestions for parents and students as they reunite. We added to them and hope these will help with creating a greater appreciation and love for one another.

Students:

  • If you want to be seen as an adult, act like one. Pitching a fit, demanding your freedom, and acting like the house is your private room are not adult behaviors.
  • Understand that your parents and siblings are human too and they will be hurt if you choose your friends over them. Spend time with family and friends, and think ahead about how you can do both.
  • Adults pick up the slack. Don't be ashamed to do more while you are at home. Your parents have cooked and cleaned for you most of your life. Now is a good time to pay it back. Keep your room tidy, offer to fix a meal, or do some yard work, laundry, etc. Show off how much you have grown while away. 
  • Understand that from this point on your relationship with your parents can be based on mutual respect, not control. Your parents are most likely worried that they did not raise you well and they may have annoying ways of asking if they did a good job. Respect them and show them you turned out okay even though you will make plenty of mistakes.

Parents:

  • Greeting your child at the door with love and acceptance is important. Be careful not to overwhelm them with a list of rules, demands, or criticisms. They are adults now and still have a lot of growing up to do!
  • Understand that while you are important, you have always been there for your children, so it is natural for them to want to see friends first. Don't get in the way of visits with friends, but let your child know you want to spend time with them too. You might even plan a meal or activity that includes friends.
  • Don't think the old rules need to stay in place, and try to avoid the temptation to pamper or baby your child. If you clean up after them they will come to expect it.  True, they may need a day or two to unwind and catch up on sleep, but they are more mature now so let them show off their maturity. There is nothing wrong with a curfew, but talk about it first. They will likely be able to handle bigger responsibilities. One suggestion is to skip the curfew time but ask that they let you know where they will be and have them call if they change their plans. Your child cannot grow up if you keep a tight leash.
  • Understand that from this point on your relationship with your children can be based on mutual respect, not control. Your children are most likely worried that you think they are not mature, and they may have annoying ways of showing you they can handle themselves. Learning from bad decisions is part of growing up. Respect them and show them they turned out okay. Continue to pray for them and yourselves! 

 Things you can do to build up your students faith during the summer and have a ball in the meantime

1. Go to http://anchorsaway.org/unanswered and order an Unanswered bundle today. Type in "anchors" in the discount code at checkout. It is a small group adult Bible study that covers these topics and many more. It is easy to use and comes with amazing original videos that will help your understanding of the material. If you do this, your child will be prepared to defend his/her faith as well as encourage others along the way.

2. Review the Framing Exerciseand frame your children continually during the summer. 

3. Attend Anchorsaway Worldview Bootcamp Training June 23rd and 24th.  

4. Take the family to Kentucky and visit the Creation Museum and Noah's Ark. It is fabulous and well worth the trip.

5. Check out these 2017 Christian Music Festivals.

6. Visit the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, FL.

We at Anchorsaway work tirelessly to research, write, teach and train those who want to make a difference through learning the foundations of the Christian faith and living those truths out in all of life. We have reached thousands and believe that God is calling us to intensify our reach. Would you please consider giving generously to this ministry. For us to grow, we need hands and feet. Please partner with us to raise up culture-changers in our high schools, colleges, workplaces and our communities. Thank you! Click here to Donate!

Blessings and much love!

Nancy