Who sleeps with who and where over summer break?

I’ve experienced the revolving door of college students for 11 years as my four children have gone to college – and returned. As soon as they’re gone and we’ve gotten used to the new equilibrium, they come back for some vacation of some length, and they need money, medical attention, glasses and shoes 

To pave the way for a peaceful summer, have a family meeting. Talk about your expectations on the three Cs: communication, contributions and compromise.

1. Let parents know if you’ll be home for dinner or not a day in advance
2. Communicate about using a shared car a few days in advance. Leave the car clean and with the same amount of gas or more.
3. What contributions will the student make over the vacation? What areas of the house will they clean regularly? What night of the week will they cook dinner? Go grocery shopping? Change the oil on the car?
Keeping them involved in the operation of the house is critical. They are not guests. They are contributing members of the family.
4. Let parents know when to expect them back. Don’t stay out all night without communicating that. Let parents know if they’ll be away over the weekend and when to expect you back.
5. Talk about alcohol consumption in the house and sober driving if you haven’t already. Will they be drinking your booze? What about moderation?
6. Have a few more family meetings as the summer progresses to ensure you’re staying on track. They must remember they are NOT at school, they are NOT independent adults. They are young adults living at their family home, which requires communication, contributions and compromise
7. Have an agreement in advance about the condition they will leave their room. Plan to help them as the day draws near to sort out the clutter they may leave behind. One son left his room like a messy closet for six months while he was away. The next visit home, we planned to clear it out  before he left, and did it.
8. Get clear on their departure date. Empty nest has its advantages.

You may need to have a private talk with the student about overnight visitors and boyfriends/girlfriends. Don’t assume anything about sleeping arrangements. Remind them it’s your house. Make your values clear.

We set the expectation that the young people involved to be in a committed, long-term relationship in order to share a bed in our home, and presumably use birth control. I do not want casual sex happening in our home. If they’re already having sex regularly with a partner at school, it is kind of redundant to prohibit it at your house.

If the young adult is a college graduate and has a job, charge rent. This will solve many conflicts and motivate them to move out and get their own place. Empty nest is wonderful, trust me 

I’ve lived with the Yin-Yang of four young people coming and going for more than a decade. It’s wonderful to have them come – and wonderful to say good-bye again. It’s time for them to fly the coop. It’s good for them.

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