As soon as finals are finished for your student, he or she will (presumably) be coming home to see you. Summer can be a time of adjustment for your family. Your student has been living on his/her own for nearly a year, determining his/her own rules, daily schedule, and behaviors. Sometimes those could be in conflict with family norms.
How can you have a happy and safe summer with your student? Here are a few ideas.
Have healthy discussions
We hope you will have many opportunities to sit down with your student and help him/her unpack the various experiences of the first year at Wake Forest. Ask your student about what were the best experiences (be they academic, social, personal, etc.) – and what made those special? Ask, too, about what the hardest parts were – and why? Help your student reflect on what has been meaningful.
It is important here to listen more than talk - let your student be free to express, and you listen with support and encouragement. Talk about the difficult topics too – this could be about alcohol, sexual activity, walking across campus late at night. Each family has its own norms of behavior, but having an open, non-combative conversation could be very important in establishing an adult relationship.
Model healthy behavior
This could be anything from how you approach your diet (balanced, with room for fun splurges), to exercise, to alcohol consumption, to getting enough sleep, to managing your stress. Your student may not tell you that he notices your behavior, but chances are he is.
Provide assistance where needed
If your student confides in you that she needs support in some area of her life – medical, emotional, career, interpersonal – offer that support.
We hope you and your students have a wonderful, safe, healthy, and happy summer!