Life Lessons

Life Lessons: College students come home

Life Lessons: College students come home

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - College students around the Lehigh Valley are coming home for summer vacation.

It can be a transition for everyone in the family.

Dr. Jane Ward, is a professor of psychology at Cedar Crest College and a local psychotherapist.

She met us on a very quiet campus recently to say that parents need to take the lead when their college students come home for the summer.

"I think the biggest mistake is to think that even though you know that they've changed, that they're still the same, they're still your little kid and they're not. You might think that you know your child, but there's going to be an adjustment and all transitions mean that people are going to be more vulnerable." says Dr. Ward.

She says initially your son or daughter will probably be exhausted, so follow their lead.

*Be Flexible
*Set boundaries about things like chores and curfews.

"That's where people fight though: it's the car, the room, going out at night, mainly it's the curfew, the same things you fought about before they left. Those are the things that are going to come up and you're going to spend a lot of energy on them so that's where you want to think ahead of time.

"Make a plan. I think that's always a good thing but I think you're going to have to change the plan and you're going to have to make well articulated boundaries but be prepared to negotiate a little bit. If your child had chores or responsibilities around the house before, it's okay to ask them to do those things again."

We did find two students working on campus. Chelsea Seibert of Allentown will be a junior next year. She remembers her freshman summer this way.:

" I didn't spend as much time with my friends from high school cause we drifted apart and I spent more time with my family and I think I enjoyed that more."

Sue Binlee of Allentown  just finished her freshman year.

"Okay, I am the baby of the family and sometimes they do treat me like a baby and sometimes I do get angry but they think it's cute. But they do treat me more like an adult now because I work and study."

Experts say accept that this is a time of transition for you and your almost adult child and be as patient as you can with yourself and with him or her.

Dr. Ward adds that you should look at the summer as an opportunity for the entire family to grow.

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Allentown, PA 18102




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