It is the time of year when empty nesters must welcome home their fledglings for the summer break. Students may find it hard to believe but, while they were off in academia, their parents truly enjoyed being relieved of their most adorable little albatrosses.
The parents learned how refreshing it is to have the leftovers they put in the fridge and marked “DO NOT TOUCH” still there the next day. They learned to love the sight of a clean kitchen, having a home where they could spontaneously invite friends over without panicked cleaning, and the marked decrease in the utility bills.
Most parents will gush over the temporary re-habitation of their offspring until all the little things start to pile up, which normally takes about 72 hours. The student’s infractions will include general messiness, car theft (it is not yours, you must ask before driving away…), surprise sleepovers of any kind, noise levels that rival an airport, emotional eruptions when asked to assist in household activities, and treating the folks who raised them as if they are the concierge at a hotel an under-employed student cannot afford.
To avoid the inevitable argument that will ensue by the third day and no later than the fourth, parents need to establish the ground rules immediately following the welcome back hug. Expect that your manifesto will be met with a shocked looked and a disarming, “Aww, I love you Mom/Dad…” which will lure you into thinking that the student understands and plans to follow all your directives. Not bloody likely.
It is best for parents to be prepared with a Plan B that either allows you to tolerate your progeny’s idiosyncrasies for the few weeks that they invade your home or bounce them out to the street if they refuse to comply. (The “kicked-to-the-curb” option is actually just a fantasy that some parents cling to as a means of self-preservation.)
We all know how this story ends; Parental sanity will only be restored when classes resume.
By Contributing Author: Jane Maulucci, The Reactive Voice