Think You're Ready for Kids to Come Home for the Holidays?


Your kids are coming home for the holidays. Do you really know what to expect?

Sure, you raised your kid until adulthood. So you think you know what to expect when s/he heads home for the holidays this year, right? You’re a family. You know one another intimately. You’re aware of each other’s habits and living style.

But if your child has been living away from home, you may be in for a big surprise. Kids change rapidly when they live away from parents. Habits and expectations change.

With the holidays coming and your adult child heading home, are you prepared?

Do you expect it to be like it was when your child lived at home full time?
    When your child lived at home, you probably had a comfortable rhythm with one another. Your daily routines involved checking in, or maybe planning dinner together. But since your child moved out, he has begun to arrange his time around his individual needs, not those of a family. He may not be thinking about the family’s routines. He may expect to sleep in, go grab dinner alone in a restaurant, or order a pizza. How has he been handling things while he lived away? He might want to do his own thing.

Do you think s/he will want to spend some time with old friends? How much time? 
    When adult children come home for the holidays, parents are often looking forward to spending lots of time with them. During the days home, you may imagine that you and your adult daughter will sit and talk for hours, prepare meals together, or maybe even sort through the old boxes in her closet. But have you considered that she may be planning to spend much of her time with her friends? Many young adult children come home excited to see family and friends alike. Holiday trips home can span from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. If your adult child had friends to visit, those plans can cut into your family plans heavily. Its important to communicate about how much time you or child plans to spend with the family and how much she wants to go off with friends.

Have you thought about curfew during the visit? Has your adult child?
    When your kid lived at home, he probably had a curfew. But when he transitioned away from your home and out on his own, he probably started staying out as long as he liked. During the holiday stay, are you imagining he will come home by midnight like he used to, or do you think he might plan to stay out later? If you’re uncertain, its probably best to have a discussion about what time you want to lock your doors for the night.

Do plan to serve alcohol with your holiday dinner?
    Many families include alcohol as part of the family meal during the holidays. If your child is an adult, she may be accustomed to enjoying a beer or a glass of wine with her friends. She may even decide to bring a bottle of wine to the table herself. Have you considered whether you are comfortable serving her alcohol during the holidays? If you are not, or if you want to ask her to limit her intake of alcohol in some way, it might be an important talk to have before she sits down at the table and pours herself a drink.

Posted on November 17, 2014 .