Dealing with Kids Home from College

Kids Hanging Out

We all love to see our kids be independent and enjoy their lives at college.

But what happens when your child comes home from college yet still wants to run her own life while they’re under your roof?

Surviving kids home from college for the holidays or summer vacation has everything to do with communication.  This issue comes up more often for kids who are not yet 21 but are behaving as though they’re 40.

Communication

Let’s say your kid has just come home from college for the Christmas holiday and she’s going to be there for a month.  What’s the best way to handle situations like when she wants to stay out to the wee hours of the morning but her coming home late wakes up the rest of the family?

You know that’s what kids do in college.  The evening doesn’t truly start until 10:00 PM and sometimes kids don’t even get back to their dorms or apartments until nearly dawn.

But this isn’t something that’s going to go well in your household particularly if you have younger kids who need to get their rest.

Sit down with your college student and tell her what you expect from her activities.  Ask her if he she thinks she’s going to be out late often and, if so, find a way to give her the freedom that she has at college without upsetting the delicate balance at home.

Listening

One of the best things you can do as a parent is listen.  And sometimes that job is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, especially if you have a rebellious kid who has just had the freedom of being on his own for the first time.

Listen to what he has to say and why he wants to do some of the things that you may not be in favor of.

If it turns out that the activities have drugs involved – and alcohol is a drug – then the conversation may need to be more serious.

Borrowing the Car

Your college student may want to borrow the car to go hang out with old high school friends or even get together with new friends from college.  If it’s not a problem … meaning that you have more than one car in your family … let him borrow the car but make sure that there is a curfew. This is no different from borrowing the car while in high school.

Trust

If there hasn’t been an issue in the past with trust between you and your college student, then you can continue to trust their good judgment and know that they will call if they need you.

But trust (and respect) should also go both ways.  Your student needs to trust you and respect the rules that you have at home for the consideration of other family members.

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What to Do If Your Teen is Pregnant

Pregnancy Test

Teen pregnancy is a subject we would all rather avoid but there are times when that isn’t possible.

While this post is about how you can handle teen pregnancy, your daughter should read it as well. Here are some tips that can help her if she discovers she is pregnant.

Test

If your daughter finds that her period is late and she has been sexually active, encourage her to take a pregnancy test. There are tons of them on the market today so pick one up for her and help her through this.

Communication

This is the hardest part for your teen because you may not have known she was having sex. It’s critical that you keep your head about you and don’t blame her or yourself.

Communication and letting her know she isn’t alone is very important at this stage. If the test is positive, see an OB/GYN to confirm the pregnancy.

Tell the Baby Daddy

Letting the father know immediately is also important. If he is mature and sensible, he will also help her through this time. If he splits, at least you are there for her.

Abortion vs. Parenting vs. Adoption

This is a very tricky issue to deal with. Some families may not agree with abortion for religious or value based reasons and that’s perfectly fine. If you and your family decide that having the baby is the best option and the father is responsive, make sure the two families get together to discuss the pregnancy and how each family will handle expenses.

This is a time to support your daughter and, hopefully, everyone can be on board with this decision.

Another possibility is giving the child up for adoption if it appears that no one is in a position to support the child.

If you, your daughter, the father and his family decide on an abortion, make sure you have all the information ahead of time and are there to support her during the procedure.

Decision Time

The time for your daughter to decide whether to bring the pregnancy to term or have an abortion is as soon as possible. While making the decision, make sure she has prenatal care in case she decides to continue the pregnancy.

If the decision is to have an abortion, doing so as early as possible is the best way to go.

How You Handle It

Don’t freak out. You may feel shocked and angry but that won’t help her. It may feel like the end of the world but it isn’t. It’s a time when you can rally and be there for your daughter which will deepen your relationship.

But still allow yourself to feel the range of emotions coursing through you. This affects everyone, not just your teen and remember that there is no shame in a new life. You have every right to feel surprised and disappointed but taking it out on your daughter will drive a wedge in your relationship at a time when she really needs you.

Teen pregnancy isn’t always something you’re looking forward to but you and your teen can work through it together.

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How to be a Positive Role Model as a Single Parent

Being A Single Parent

Whether it’s the result of death, divorce or by choice, the number of single parents in America today has risen exponentially in the past 30 years. Gone is the stigma of being a single parent.

Dads are raising daughters and Moms are doing the same for their sons. Is it easier to parent a child of the same sex? Absolutely.

But it isn’t impossible.

Has the American Dream Died?

In a word, no. But it has morphed since the two-parent household days of “Father Knows Best” and “Ozzie and Harriet”.

The American dream of owning your own house, feeling safe in your neighborhood and having a good family relationship is still very much alive.

The rising divorce rate in America has created an atmosphere of disposable families. While we still believe a loving two-parent household is best, we realize that kids will do better in school and in life without the tension of parents who are battling each other.

Communicate

Fear is the biggest killer of relationships because fear causes us to remain silent. You and your child need to talk all the time whether it’s about allowance, friends or starting to be more independent as a new driver.

If you talk honestly with your child and tell them what it’s like to be a single parent from your perspective, she will be more likely to talk with you about her issues as well.

Does that mean you should treat your kid like your BFF? No, not at all. But there’s no harm in saying things like needing to stick to your monthly budget when she wants to buy the latest designer wear. Explaining how budgets work, how life evolves by using open communication is a healthy way to be a positive role model.

Show Don’t Just Tell

Telling your child you love them is important to be sure. But showing them? That speaks volumes. Take time each day for you to play with your kids. Moms, throw a ball around with your sons. Time is the best gift you can give your child and that teaches them to value relationships.

This also extends to you as a parent reaching out for help when you need it. And let your child see that you’ve asked for help. It will show her not to be afraid of asking for help every now and again.

Set Boundaries

This can be as simple as speaking respectfully all the way up to making a plan with your teen when she starts getting together with friends and partying. Talk about what you will and won’t accept and make a plan together.

Opposite Sex Role Models

Avoid trashing an ex-spouse to your child and include friends of the opposite sex who aren’t romantic partners. This shows your kid that she can have male friends without it being a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship which helps her build solid relationships with both sexes when she gets older.

Single parenting is challenging but is also filled with the joy of showing your child how good life can be.

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