Navigating Independence: College Kids Home for the Summer

It’s summer, which may mean your college kids are back home. But college-aged children are far different than when they were young. Your kids are now more independent and are learning to be adults.

black bicycle parked in front of building

As a parent, navigating the college years is tricky. How can you encourage your child’s independence while still enforcing rules in your home? Here are some ideas that you can try with your family.

Talk About Each Other’s Expectations

Before your college student gets home, talk to them about what you expect from their time with you. For example, you might find out that your student hopes to be treated like a full adult who is able to come and go as they please, without any explanation or warning.

That may or may not be OK with you, but you can set expectations and avoid fights by talking about it before it happens.

Additionally, you may also want to discuss other expectations related to household chores, family activities, and communication. Putting everything on the table will help you enjoy having your student home with minimum conflict.

Consider Additional Responsibilities

Many young adults only think about the freedom of being an adult, but there are many responsibilities as well. You can help prepare them for adulthood by giving them additional financial or family obligations.

For example, talk to your student about their finances. You can discuss how to use credit in the right way, how to manage bills, and how to create a budget. Since your student may be working during school or the summer, they’ll have an income they can use.

Consider having them take over a monthly bill, like their own car insurance, to practice budgeting responsibly. Have them do some research to find a highly-rated insurer who offers affordable rates to young drivers. Hint: Companies with independent agents can help them compare insurance rates. Freeway Insurance reviews give the company high marks for affordable car insurance, even for young drivers and those without a perfect record.

You can follow a similar process with other responsibilities, like having your young adult make their own appointments, take care of their laundry, or even plan a family weekend trip.

Balance Independence and Boundaries

Your student has been living independently and probably has their own plans about how they want to spend their summer. You want to honor that while also placing appropriate boundaries around their activities.

For example, it’s not wrong to say that certain activities can’t occur in your home, such as drinking or other objectionable activities. You might also set boundaries around when they can come and go so they don’t disturb the rest of the family who might be sleeping.

The primary goals are to keep everyone safe, enforce your at-home standards, and still allow your college student to experience freedom and practice making their own decisions.

Enjoy Your Summer!

Ultimately, the most important thing about having your college student home for the summer is spending time together and strengthening your relationship. By balancing your student’s independence with your family’s needs, you can make the transition smooth and enjoyable for everyone.

Have a great summer with your college “kids”!

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