Thanksgiving Break will soon here. This might be the first time you’ve had your student home since Move-In. Before your Deac comes home, it might be helpful to think about any expectations you have for them being home again (will they have a curfew? are they expected to spend time with family vs. high school friends? etc.) and talk about them with your Deac. It’s also important, as your students are gaining independence, to hear what they are hoping for as well. That way, each party knows where the other stands on the issues they most care about, and you can determine compromises as needed.
That said, here are a few Dos and Don’ts to consider as you plan to have your Deac home for Thanksgiving.
Ask them about their friends. Those are the important people surrounding your Deac. You’ll want to get to know them. (And don’t panic if they don’t have a ton of close friends yet – that’s OK too, and will come with time).
Ask them about the classes or experiences they have particularly liked. That shows interest.
Listen more than talk. This helps your Deac have room to express themselves.
Show support for their choices. This shows your Deac that you trust them to run their own lives and affairs.
Let them sleep in. They will be tired.
Show them some TLC. Tender Loving Care from mom, dad, and loved ones is always a good thing.
Encourage them to seek support if they need it. Remind your Deacs that good self-care – whether tutoring, counseling, mentoring – is smart.
Ask your Deac what their major is going to be, or suggest/hint about a major you would like them to pursue. That can add unnecessary pressure when there is still plenty of time to decide.
[Related to above] Say “what on earth will you do with a major in [insert academic subject]?” Very few jobs require a specific major.
Comment on your Deac’s appearance. If your Deac needs a haircut, has a scraggly beard, or has gained a few pounds, they know that already. They are probably dreading you commenting about it, so please don’t.
Get involved in the details. Those details could be your Deac’s course schedule, their plans to go Greek (or not), their campus activities, etc. Let your student have the space to sort that out themselves.
Be offended if they want to spend time with their friends from high school. They may need to reassure themselves that those friendships are still solid, whereas they feel comfortable in their relationship with you.
And the biggest DO of all – do have fun!