This is the first step to the unanticipated changes that are inevitable once “Junior” leaves home and later returns.
Although it has been several years since our sons left for college, as I write this, my eyes are filled with tears. The pure sadness of watching our “babies” wave from their dorm room will stay with me forever, as will the joy of being a part of their journey into adulthood.
What does this have to do with etiquette? Respect, consideration, and tact, that’s what. And I don’t mean only from “Junior.”
It can be a difficult thing for a parent to take a step back from the “Because I said so!” and the “You should because…” mode. I’m not under any certain circumstances barring you from using them, only respectfully suggesting that you consider stopping it!
Now that “Junior” has had a taste of independence, experienced different points of view, perhaps been forced to express and explain his/her viewpoints, communicated with professors, and socially expanded his/her circle of friends, oh boy, he may have a whole new approach and outlook on a lot of things.
Don’t panic, Mom and Dad; it’ll be okay. Do more listening than debating.
How did you react when your parents wagged their finger in your face telling you that you were wrong? Hmm?
While I wholeheartedly believe in the “my house, my rules” policy, I also believe that rules can be reevaluated.
Sometimes we are blinded by the joy and anticipation of “Junior” coming home from college. We tend to try to make things exactly like he used to like them, and we are blind-sided when he says, “Mom, I don’t eat cookies anymore…are these organic?” And you are left holding a plate of his favorite cookies wondering, “Who are you? …What happened?”
Here are a couple of tips from my book, When Junior Comes Home from College:
Tip 1: If Junior stays in one evening, don’t utter, “It’s about time.” Enjoy the time together.
Tip 2: Express interest in their latest fad. (I did not say “approve of.”)
Tip 1: Yes, you do have to adhere to the “house rules.” (It’s not your dorm room.) If you think your parents are too strict, discuss it.
Tip 2: No, you shouldn’t storm in and clear out all the 2% milk because you’ve discovered soy milk.
Mom and Dad, try a little tenderness, composure, and humor; it’ll help make this potentially tumultuous time into a mellow and joyful experience for both parents and young adults.