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Cupcake's avatar

Did you not want your college freshman to come home for a certain amount of time?

Asked by Cupcake (15437points) September 4th, 2014
23 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

I know many parents of new college students who did not allow their kids to come home for the first month or so. They were trying to help their kids adjust to college and not get in the pattern of leaving campus each weekend. Did you have a rule like this with your college freshman? Did your parents have a rule like this for you? Was it beneficial? Was it harmful? Was it difficult?

My kiddo wants to come home this weekend and my response was, “Do you want me to pick you up or should we look at the bus schedule?” I’m so thrilled to see him! But now I’m wondering if I should have encouraged him to stay on campus. I won’t be altering my plans… I’m just curious what you all have to say about adjusting to college and visiting home.

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tedibear's avatar

My college encouraged freshmen to not go home the first month to six weeks unless there was a special event.

I think if the student is adjusting well the first month, coming home during the first semester shouldn’t be a problem.

Coloma's avatar

I find that attitude rather hard nosed. Sheesh..I’d WANT to see my child as often as possible.
Everybody needs to get away from their day to day environment and especially when in transition people need to still feel connected to their familiar environments.
Some of my old friends in San Diego sent one of their girls to her husbands old Alma Mater, Michigan state and the girl hated it, being so far away.

She lasted a couple of semesters then transferred back to S.D. State.
I just moved 40 miles away from my daughter who is now almost 27, an hours drive through the winding hills here.
We lived 20 minutes away from each other for the last 6 years, I went to see her yesterday and our visits will probably only be once a month or so, if that, with our schedules.

I miss seeing her once a week. haha

gailcalled's avatar

Is this his or her first week-end? I would be careful; adjusting is tough and you don’t want to make it harder for your kid. Maybe wait a few weeks. Colleges and Uni’s in the states make huge efforts to help freshmen integrate, get involved and start to make friends during the first month. You don’t want your child to miss out on that; him/her being at home is isolating him/her.

Being a little homesick is not such a bad thing.

dappled_leaves's avatar

This question sounds funny to me. I don’t have kids, but as a kid, my parents expected me home every weekend, even though they had a long commute to pick me up. I had to be creative about excuses for staying at school.

I think it might be good not to have “rules” in either direction about this. Your son will know whether or not he is adjusting to college life. If it hasn’t occurred to him that remaining on campus could be good for his development, then simply mentioning it should be sufficient. What if, after some time, he ends up deeply unhappy there, or depressed, and feels he can’t talk to you about it? On a more lighthearted note, what if he can’t afford to do his own laundry?

If you’re worried about him transitioning to adulthood, it seems to me that allowing him to make his own choices is the best way to do that, rather than manipulating him into it.

janbb's avatar

I wouldn’t make a rule either. We visited each of mine at school within a few weeks of their being gone because they were homesick. I would certainly gently discourage a kid of mine from coming home every weekend but you will get a good sense of what he is feeling and needing as time goes on. Is coming home for only part of the weekend this weekend an option? Do you have an idea of what activities there are at the school on the weekends?

downtide's avatar

My daughter’s college was five miles from home and she continued to live with me whilst she was a student.

Back when I was a student myself, I went to a college half way across the country and I stayed away from home from September until Christmas. There was no rule, but I just didn’t want to go home. I had so much fun I don’t think I even remembered to phone more than half a dozen times that semester.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t have children, but having been a child myself I think it is absolutely fine if he comes home for the weekend and I see no reason to believe it will become a habit. I could list a bunch of reasons why I think it’s ok, but instead I’ll just say that I think if it relieves a little home sickness, or spares him feeling badly, because he doesnt have plans this weekend on campus, I don’t see any harm. Most likely within a few weeks he will make new friends and not want to leave campus. If that doesn’t happen then I would worry, but I would not be worried about it at all right now. Enjoy your weekend with him!

Cupcake's avatar

@tedibear Thank you. I don’t know if his school makes such a recommendation. Perhaps I should have looked into that.

@Coloma I’m so excited to see him!! :) It will save me from baking him cookies and mailing them to his dorm.

@gailcalled This might be the third weekend.

@dappled_leaves Thank goodness his laundry is free. :) I agree with all of your points.

@janbb I know he was disappointed that he wasn’t able to hang out with a group of people last weekend because they “got drunk at night and slept all day.”

@downtide Wow… I’ll bet you have some great college stories!!

@JLeslie I agree. Thank you. :)

Thanks everyone. I have no concerns about his adjustment. I think he’s doing great. I wonder if he misses his little brothers. I told him yesterday that the baby is having a minor procedure done next week, so he might just have home on his mind.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Cupcake Ah, small mercies! :)

Cupcake's avatar

I feel like a celebrity is coming to my house. I want to go home early from work today to clean and do laundry. I want to cook his favorite food and lay out a platter of his favorite cookies.

I feel like this weekend is my reward for giving him his space and not calling him and making him recount each detail of each day. I’ve been trying SO hard to hold off on contact and let him come to me that I didn’t even realize until just now how much I miss him!

janbb's avatar

It sounds like his touching base with home might be a nice thing for all of you!

zenvelo's avatar

My son just started at community college, so he is lving at home. But if he were to go away I’d say “see you at Thanksgiving.”

A lot of his classmates are already talking about not coming home until Christmas. When I went away to school, I only came home on a Wednesday my first quarter for an orthodontist appointment, went back the next day. Didn’t come home for any social stuff until Thanksgiving.

I also went to school 315 miles away, so I could only go home on the weekend if it was something worthwhile.

longgone's avatar

I never understand this logic. People will adjust at their own pace, and pushing won’t make it go faster. I think it’s important to feel welcome at home, even if “home” is not where you sleep at night. You’re doing the right thing. Have a wonderful weekend!

JLeslie's avatar

@longgone I think it actually is counterproductive, I completely agree with you. Some sleep away camps young children go to don’t allow the child to call home and it’s awful in my opinion. That was the only camp I webt to that I wanted to leave within a few days; they wouldn’t let me call my mom. I wound up getting sick (fever and everything) and they finally called my parents (I had to practically beg to get them to let me get on the phone) and when my dad found out I could not call home he flipped out. My parents didn’t know that would be the rule. I never had called every day at other camps anyway, I wasn’t clingy to my parents in general, but to be forbidden to touch base made me miserable.

rojo's avatar

@Cupcake enjoy it while it happens. Soon enough you will find him finding other activities on the weekend, then on holidays, then move on to another state with a job.

Aethelwine's avatar

^or they continue coming home every other weekend, then quit during their junior year and move home. This happened to us.

It really depends on the student. Most universities do encourage the students to not visit home too soon. If your child is a homebody, coming home too often may hurt in the long run.

longgone's avatar

@JLeslie With children, that kind of thing is even worse. If I hadn’t been allowed to call home as a young child, I don’t know whether I would ever have had the courage to even sleep at a friend’s. I didn’t call home, but I needed to know the possibility existed.

As a teen, I went on a couple of class trips with a group that really did not suit me well at all. Most of them were drinking, and I felt out of place and unhappy.
Calls home were what made me stick it out – and they lessened gradually, the more comfortable I became.

JLeslie's avatar

@longgone I think the no call attitude happens more in places that are religiously based, but I could be wrong. The camp that didn’t let me call was a YMCA camp. Y is not really overtly religious, but the idea might be from a history of that sort of thing. The strict and suffering sort of attitude. LOL. The same way some birth mothers could never hold their child before giving it up, and I think when nuns go into the convent initially they can’t call home.

Probably some nonreligious institutions and families function like that also, I was just saying there might be some sort of historical reason for it in some cases. Similar to my family never drank milk with a meal. We aren’t kosher, but probably it is left over from my mom and dad being raised in kosher or kosher style homes when they were little.

Cupcake's avatar

@jonsblond If you had it to do over, would you discourage visits home?

I think that sometimes kids just aren’t ready for college. I’m OK with that. My husband and I both made mistakes and ended up working our ways through college. It took (him) longer and cost us both more money… but we ended up feeling very accomplished when we finished on our own dime.

JLeslie's avatar

I think if they want to come home often they aren’t adjusting or don’t like their school and living environment. I don’t think it necessarily is they want to be home, but possibly more that they don’t want to be where they are.

One girlfriend of mine, her daughter went out of state, about 4½ hours away, so she couldn’t just come home all the time. She was miserable from the start and it never got better. Her parents encouraged her to give it a chance. Eventually, she transferred to a different school, it happened to be close to home, about an hour away, but she didn’t come home all the time. She was much happier at the second school.

Sometimes kids are very nervous or still “young” for their age. I went to community college at first, but I was 16 when I finished high school and 17 when I started college. Then I transferred when I was 18 to a university out of state. I never felt like I needed to go home at that point, although I did a few times a year. I had a ton of fun at school, I settled right in, and I think living away on campus is a great thing for most kids. Possibly, if I had left for school at age 17 I might have had a harder adjustment.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@JLeslie Eh, I was 17 when I left, and didn’t want to look back. As you say, I think it’s an individual thing, and has as much to do with their specific school as anything else. At that age, it’s hard to pinpoint specifically what is making us happy or unhappy about a given situation. Hell, I often have the same trouble at my current age.

JLeslie's avatar

@dappled_leaves I think some kids also want to escape their parents home, while others are perfectly comfortable. There is something to be said for antagonism between teens and parents, I think it helps launch children into adulthood. Part of the adolescent process.

rojo's avatar

FYI my parents never discouraged my coming home, in fact just the opposite and they were always glad to see me when I did. It was a five hour drive and there was some concern about being on the road that long both ways for a weekend

Of course I do remember on holidays being asked “When are you going back to school?” and not “When do you have to go back to school?”. Subtle?

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