A recent skit on Saturday Night Live called “Back Home Ballers” hilariously parodied what happens when adults return to their childhood homes in time for the holidays and receive the star treatment. As a student who just wrapped up her freshman year of college, this skit definitely mimicked my pilgrimage home for short breaks throughout my first year. But now, after nine months of trial and error, taking risks, and adjusting to a newfound independence, I have returned home for three whole months. To call the transition home a “culture shock” would be an understatement.


Not only because I am no longer being served by the number one dining services in the nation (shout out to Virginia Tech on that note!), but because after initially having to cope with letting go, on my end as well as my parents’ end, we are back living under the same roof.


It can be easy to assume that this transition back to living at home will be seamless for college students and that nothing has changed, but that is simply untrue. Nine months apart creates change. The home environment is familiar, but the atmosphere is completely different, and that atmospheric change can put strain on your relationship with your parents and vice versa. Here are some tips for navigating this new chapter in the parent-child relationship and have a happy homecoming.


For students:

Respect house rules.

You can’t wait to go home and enjoy home-cooked meals and other comforts of home. But while being a “back home baller” definitely has it’s perks, it is important for you to recognize that your house is not like your dorm room. It is not just your domain, but also your parents’. Be respectful of your parents’ expectations. You can no longer just let your laundry pile up for four weeks before being forced to do something about it.

Understand that it is different on both ends.

There’s no doubt that you have undergone a serious adjustment, but your household has experienced an adjustment as well because of your extended absence. Returning home does not necessarily mean everything will be back to the way it was for you and your family before you left. There will be another adjustment period for both of you. Be understanding of how you are likely just as confused and unsure as your parents are.

Cherish the time you do have with you family.

My father always says, “you can pick your nose and your friends, but you can’t pick your family.” Spend quality time with your loved ones before heading back to school. Nothing beats the time spent in the company of your family, and these moments are what make coming home so exciting for college students. Despite your newfound independence, for college kids, home is still where the heart is.

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For parents:

Respect how your child has changed while away at school.

You and your child have spent the majority of the last nine months apart, and their return to the nest can tempt you to grasp hold of the reigns again. However, the past nine months have been a period of maturation and independence. Don’t hinder your child’s newfound independence. Acknowledge and respect it.


Promote open communication.

Encourage your child to share what he or she has learned in his or her time at college. Allow them to open up about changes in themselves and their perspective. They will be glad that you have acknowledged this period of change positively. Then, reciprocate and offer your views and openly discuss any differences you have experienced. This open dialogue will help maintain the relationship you have with your college-aged child during the most critical years of their life so far.


Check out the SNL skit here!
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmWH1F-caM8?rel=0&showinfo=0]