It seems to be a common theme presenting itself to me over and over again as I navigate the newness of the empty nest.
Recently, I shared a very private but relevant story about how setting expectations with my son prior to parents’ weekend may have prevented me from experiencing hurt feelings. It may have also prevented my son from feeling badly when I shared with him the disappointment and hurt that had been caused by what seemed to be his lack of paying attention during the weekend at his university.
If you’d like to read what I shared, join my Moms Who Dare Private Facebook Group. The group is private because members share and support each other through this life transition. It’s a safe and fun place (we’re having a blast) for all of us to share and be open about what we’re experiencing. However, you may also email me and I will be happy to send you a copy.
What Are Your Expectations?
First parents’ weekend, and now Thanksgiving.
Parents everywhere are getting ready for their college kids to come home. For many this is their first time home since they were dropped off in August, which means moms and dads are really excited. However, I feel compelled to help you prepare for the possibility that your sons and daughters may only be home long enough for a quick hug, laundry drop off and a meal or two. Why? Because it’s their first time they’ll be able to reconnect with their high school friends, and this is a huge deal.
Don’t shoot the messenger! Hear me out as I have been through this with my daughter (Ellie) who is now a senior in college and I am going to experience it all over again with my son (Dan) who is a freshman.
I’m not saying our kids aren’t excited to come home and see the family and sleep in their beds again. What I am saying is they’re more excited about spending time with their friends than with you. They want to reconnect, share their new stories and reminisce about the “good old days.”
Do you remember your first Thanksgiving home? I do and I was that kid who totally dissed my family to hang out with my friends.
I’m writing this to help. Help all the parents out there manage and set expectations around this visit home, because if you can, maybe you’ll avoid spending four days feeling disappointed, angry, hurt or sad.
Tips for Getting Some Quality Time with Your College Kids at Thanksgiving
Plan Meal Times Together – Before your sons and daughters hang out with their friends, plan your meal times. If you set the expectation up front that you’ll have family dinner time, you can avoid conflict. Your kids can hang out with their friends later.
Take a Pre-Emptive Strike – Your kids want to see their friends, right? Why not offer to have a pizza lunch or dinner for them at your house? They may be in the basement hanging out, but at least they’re at your house. Wouldn’t it be great to hear the chatter of teens again?
Moms and Daughters Schedule a Fun Activity – Moms and daughters can spend the day together getting a mani-pedi (manicure and pedicure).
Dads and Sons Schedule a Fun Activity – Maybe you and your sons can take a trip to the barbershop or chill out in front of the TV watching football. You may consider having them invite their friends over to watch with you.
Setting Expectations for Visits with College Kids Alleviates Hurt Feelings
“Our goal as parents is not to raise great kids, rather to raise kids to become great adults.” –Andy Andrews
The most important piece of advice I can offer is to NOT take it personally when your college kids drop and run. They love you and are happy to be home. I would invite you to sit back and watch, or as I’ve been trying to do more of, pay attention. Pay attention as they reunite with their friends. See how they’ve grown in a short three months away from home. Then pat yourself on the back because you did this. You created these amazing children who are growing up and becoming amazing adults. After all, isn’t that our goal as parents?
Hey Moms! Have your kids left home only to leave you feeling lost and without a sense of purpose? Download a copy of my eBook and discover what’s most important to you now that the nest is empty and more!
Loss, Worry & Loneliness
This is why I do what I do.
Working with me will give you the tools and strategies to help you move through the loss, worry and loneliness so you can:
- Start dreaming again: Re-discover those things that make your smile.
- Start Daring yourself to try new things in order to discover new interests or passions and reconnecting with others.
Have you dared yourself to do something new just for you? Share in the comments below.