Going back home for the holidays after a semester at college can be difficult, to say the least. You are used to having a ton of freedom: You can stay out as late as you want, eat whatever and whenever you want, spend time with whomever you want, and basically do whatever strikes your fancy. But once you go back home, you have to obey your parents rules again.
My first holiday season back with my parents was stressful.
I wanted to stay up until three in the morning and sleep until noon, or later. My parents are morning people and didn’t understand why I did not share their love of drinking coffee and watching the sun rise at 7:00 a.m. They also expected me to study for finals, which seemed a little ridiculous to me, but to them, was a responsible use of time.
My problem was not too severe, but I have heard horror stories of parents and their children battling over the holiday season. In order to avoid your own family version of World War III this holiday season, keep the following things in mind.
1. Be respectful. Yes, you are an adult and you are used to doing your own thing in college. But when you go back home, you are living under your parents’ roof again and you have to follow their rules. If there is something you absolutely cannot stand, be mature and respectfully ask to discuss the issue with them. Chances are that your newly developed, mature approach will help them see that you are an adult who needs to be treated as such.
2. Be flexible. You cannot have your way on everything, but neither should anyone else. Make it a family goal for everyone to give and take this holiday season. Maybe your sister wants to have vegetarian options to turkey during the Thanksgiving dinner. That really is not a big issue, so go ahead and let her eat in peace without making fun of her dietary wishes. Then, when you go shopping on Black Friday, she doesn’t have a strong defense when she ridicules your obsession of designer shoes on clearance. It’s all about compromising and being nice to your family.
3. Be appreciative. Thanksgiving is a time to reconnect with family that you haven’t seen for a while. Be thankful for any and all of the blessings you have in your life. Be thankful your mom cooked a delicious dinner or that you got to cook and everyone complimented your cooking skills. Be thankful that you got to travel back home, or that your family traveled to see you. Be thankful you have a loving family or friends that care about you. When you take a step back and realize that – even though your family might be a little strange – they do love you, everything will seem better this holiday season.
The holidays can be a very stressful time. But if you remember what the real reasons for the seasons are, you can have a wonderful holiday break.