Having Your Deacs Home Again

Thanksgiving break is a couple of weeks away, and many Wake Forest students will be headed home for it.  Just a few weeks after, the semester will end and all our students will vacate campus for Winter Break.  When your Deac comes home for break, it’s not like he or she will be returning to what life was like in high school.  Your college student’s return home is an adjustment for both students and families alike.

Here are some of the potential things you might have to navigate at Thanksgiving and Winter Break:

  • Sleep schedules – students live a much more nocturnal lifestyle at college. Many students sleep in as late as their classes allow, and stay up very late at night to do their schoolwork.  This schedule can cause tension if you want to plan family activities that suit the rest of your family’s much earlier-in-the-day schedule.
  • Social life – related to the above, many students don’t plan to visit friends or see a movie until 11 p.m. or midnight, much to the dismay of parents and family members who believe (as my mom did) that “nothing good can possibly be going on between midnight and 3 am”.
  • Curfew – your students may balk at the idea of a curfew, arguing that they have been living on their own all semester without any formal rules. As a parent or family member, you may want to insist (for your own peace of mind) that they come home by a certain time.
  • Driving long distances to visit friends – many students enjoy a Road Trip, and it is not uncommon to drive an hour or more to visit friends or go to another city where something fun is happening (concert, sporting event, etc.) In addition to families worrying about students driving late at night, there can be hurt feelings that their student is wanting to spend more time with their friends than with younger siblings or family.
  • Cleanliness (of person or room) – students may leave their childhood room in disarray or expect you to pick up after them, or not do their laundry/shower as often as their family members would like.
  • Drinking alcohol at holiday celebrations – it’s still illegal for students under 21 to drink, but will families allow their student a glass of wine at a holiday meal? Or around the house?
  • The student’s room – has it been given to a younger sibling? Remodeled for an office?  If students find their old rooms have been substantially changed while they were away, it can cause conflict.

Before your Deac comes home, it might be helpful to navigate ground rules.  That way, each party knows what to expect on the issues they most care about, and you aren’t trying to negotiate items during a conflict.

There is an old, but still excellent article online that deals with some of the key issues families and students face when adjusting to each other during the first extended stay at home following their first semester of college:  http://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/4228.aspx


To contact the Office of Family Engagement, please visit our contact page.

If Your Student Has a Problem

One of the best ways parents/families can help their students is to let them solve their own problems. Use the Stop, Drop, and Roll method when your student contacts you with a problem.  The flyer also lists contact information for serious concerns where family intervention might be appropriate.

Orientation 2017 slide shows

Select slide shows from Orientation sessions are available online.