College Students Returning Home for the Holidays: merge2gether offers Talking Points for Parents

Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — A college student’s return to the nest during their first holiday break can be difficult for both the parent and the adult child. Living on their own, the student has had a taste of freedom and is master of their own life. Accordingly, they might disregard or resist the old household rules that were in place before they went to college.

Parents often complain about how little they see their college student when they are home. The student is anxious to see high school and neighborhood friends. Discussing the best ways to balance time with family and time with friends is a good way to set expectations.

Be proactive, discuss the following concerns with the returning college freshman and enjoy a more harmonious home during the holidays:

Guests (overnight and otherwise): allowed or not allowed? What are the guidelines around entertaining at home?

Curfew: is there one and, if so, what is it?

Calling home with late-night updates: yes or no and if yes, by what time?

Lifestyle: is getting up at noon, going out at 11:00pm and returning home at 4:00am okay?

Household habits: who is expected to cook, clean and do laundry? If not already a practice in the family home, now might be a good time to ask the young adult to continue to assume the basic chores they do at school – laundry and clean up of personal spaces.

Family social plans: when is the student expected to join family functions? Communicate dates, times and locations electronically, in writing or both in order to make it easy to remember what everyone agreed upon.

Drinking and drug use: one of the most common problems on campuses today, may be brought back home. Be sure to let returning college student know whether or not this behavior will be acceptable in the family home.

As the student matures from a freshman to a senior, expectations and rules about home visits may need to be adjusted to keep the whole family healthy and happy.

For more information about moving in and living together, go to

About merge2gether ( Founded in 2011, merge2gether is headquartered in Oakland, California. is an online community offering resources to guide people as they think and talk through the process of moving in with another person. merge2gether provides free information, questions-and-answers and ideas to people of all ages and at all stages of life.


Beverly Aabjerg

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