Winter break: my parents are driving me crazy.


“I’ve only been home a few days and my parents are already driving me crazy.”

Whether it’s your first or fourth winter break home, reentry to home life can always be a bit challenging.  But let’s talk about why your parents are driving you crazy.

1. There is tension every time you make plans with friends instead of hanging out with the family. 

This was my #1 problem when I was home from college.  I would make plans as much as possible to see all of my high school friends, dinners, shopping, movies, etc.  I wanted to soak up the time I had with them since we didn’t go to the same colleges.  The problem was that this really hurt my parents’ feelings.  They wanted me to stay home for dinner.  They wanted me to watch a movie with them at night.  Bottom line: your parents have really missed you and they want you around as much as possible.  So, when you prioritize plans with your friends, it hurts their feelings.  I’m not saying you can’t hang out with your friends, but make sure you are carving out time and being intentional about making your parents (and siblings) feel like you want to be with them.

2. You parents want to know the who/what/when/where of all your plans and are mandating a curfew!!! 

GASP.  HOW COULD THEY BE SO RIDICULOUS?!  Don’t hate me when I say this, but you need to get over yourself.  Your parents are used to being your parents–your protector.  They feel responsible for you and the way they protect and care for you is by mandating a curfew and wanting to know all the details about your plans.  I know you don’t have to do this when you are at college, but you are back home right now, living under your parents’ roof.  You’ve got to suck it up and respect whatever rules/mandates they are placing on you.  And, seriously, it’s just for a few weeks.  Get over yourself and be kind and respectful to mom and dad by abiding by their rules.

3. They are “harassing” you about your plans–declaring your major, deciding to study abroad, applying for graduate schools, your job search, etc.  

I remember several of my friends struggling with this.  It seemed like whenever they were home it became a war zone between mom, dad, and student fighting over “what was the best plan.”  I had a friend who was a finance major because her dad said it was the only major he’d pay for.  In reality, she desperately wanted to major in dance.  She was miserable.  Every time she went home it was a constant battle with her dad, trying to convince him to let her change her major.  If you are experiencing something similar, I encourage you to set boundaries with your parents.  Don’t let this topic pervade your entire break home.  When the topic comes up, say “I want to talk about this but I don’t want this to be the only thing we discuss when I’m home.  Let’s talk about this over dinner tomorrow night.”  Then stick to that.  When it is time to talk, hear them out.  It’s vital that your parents feel like you are listening and taking in what they are saying.  Then, calmly and maturely state your case.  Be an adult during this conversation.  It’s crucial you don’t act like the 12-year old kid your parents know too well.  Finally, whether or not the topic is “resolved”, communicate boundaries again.  Maybe it’s saying, “I understand we may need to talk about this more, but I don’t want my time at home to be all about arguing over my plans.  I want us to enjoy this time together.  What can we do to accomplish that?”  I know that may all seem overly formal or professional, but you’ve got to communicate directly and maturely with your parents for them to respect you.

Bottom line: I know your parents may be driving you crazy for a variety of reasons, but be kind, mature, respectful, and show them that you love them and care about them.  This is much more about you changing your attitude and response to them, than you trying to get them to treat you differently.

Still not sure how you’re going to survive the month at home?  Read these 6 tips for a successful reentry.

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