Today’s question comes from Lucy:
“I would like some insight on the best way to deal with older children who return home between college years. My children know my “open” heart, and they take in “stray students” who either don’t want to go home, or can’t afford to go home, and they volunteer for them to live for the entire summer at OUR HOUSE! Extra beds to set up, extra mouths to feed (an additional 21 year old college senior boy eats a lot!) and extra clothes to wash…and I work 40 hours a week on top of that!
Of course, I want to be a servant of God, and the kids say, “Mom, you are always offering to help other people. I thought you would WANT them to stay here!” And I do ….or at least, most of the time I do. But not only do they think that they can move home and keep the same rules they have set for themselves while they are away at college, but they bring home all of their friend’s extra dorm stuff, because they told them we would store it for them for the summer. I don’t want to lose my cool, but I need some control over my home! HELP!”
I know many of you are not at this point in raising kid. My husband and I are and having grown children is a whole different dynamic.
Lucy, I love that your kids see the heart of Jesus in you; what a compliment! I certainly understand your need for boundaries though. When my son left for college, I told him that I knew at some point he would want to bring a friend home, but please ask me first. Unfortunately, the ask usually came after he had already told his friend to come on!
I have learned some pretty valuable lessons watching my older siblings and their children; I’m number seven of eight, so I have plenty of role models! I watch the interactions they have with their adult children and have learned:
If I want my kids to behave in a certain way when they are adults, I need to tell them now. Some examples that I have covered are:
* When you have company, it’s important to change the sheets when they come.
* Don’t forget your dad is allergic to animals, so if you have pets, you’ll have to clean extra well before we visit.
* Be sure to offer your guest something to drink/eat when they arrive.
* When you come and visit me, please be sure to help me clean up the meal afterwards.
There is something extremely uncomfortable about having to ask a 20-something to help you wash dishes.You would think that manners like these would be learned from observation, but there is something that is often missed between demonstrating manners and copying them.
Although this doesn’t help for this summer, Lucy, clarify with your student your heart and your expectations, so everyone can have an enjoyable summer! I hope you at least have some extra summer help!
What do you think Lucy can do to help her get through the summer?
P.S. I asked my soon-t0-be 18 year old and her friend what they thought. Their advice, “When kids come home for the summer, they need to resume whatever the rules are in the house.” Glad they see it that way! I’ll have to remind her of that in a couple of years!