By Thanksgiving, often schoolwork, projects and papers are well underway. Some pressure might be building, especially if a student doesn't get off on the right academic foot. Oftentimes, it is also the first time they've had an opportunity to get back home. It is home where they could be under different pressures. It is the first time they have seen their friends, and catching up with how everyone is doing at their respective schools can take a lot of time. In fact, you may hardly see your son or daughter the whole weekend! But, along with the pressures of seeing how everyone is doing, come the pressures from family, asking how school is going and gentle and ungentle reminders of rules.
Your son or daughter has now been away from home for what in most cases the longest time they've ever been away. They are 'free' when they are away, and coming home to curfews, and the old rules from high school can add some strain to both your student and you. Also, this is often a time when high school relationships come to an end, as a little bit of a change has occurred, or someone new romantically might be in the picture at school.
What you can do to help
- Reinforce that you believe in your student, and that they can be successful
- Ask questions about their plan to finish out the semester strong, and to stay on top of their school work
- Be very clear about expectations regarding the Thanksgiving Holiday. Set out in advance of them coming home about if and when they are required to be at dinner or other family gatherings
- If applicable, normalize their overwhelming feelings by affirming that what they feel is normal, and that you understand just how difficult university can be
What may not help
- Taking on their problems and trying to fix them yourself
- Telling your child what to do
- Reorganizing your holiday weekend around your child's erratic schedule