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Moving Back Home For The Summer: A Survival Guide

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Going to college is a really exciting time for so many reasons, but one of the biggest is that it’s the first real taste of independence that many of us get. If you move out of your parents’ house for school, whether it’s to a dorm room or off-campus housing, for the first time in your life, you’re not living by anyone’s rules but your own. It’s a beautiful feeling, but as excited as you are for summer, it can sometimes be hard to make the transition back to your parents’ house after finals. After all that freedom, suddenly, they’re expecting you to follow their rules again — and that can cause a lot of arguments.

It makes sense that your parents forcing their rules on you again would piss you off; for months, you’ve been coming home when you want to, going where you want when you want to, and making all basic decisions for yourself. Clearly, you’re capable. You survived it. So why can’t your parents just let you live? But for them, it’s tough, too. They’re excited to have their kid back home, and to them, you are still a kid — and they’re going to want to parent you. That’s just what they do.

It’s definitely going to be an adjustment if you have to move back home for the summer, but it’s not impossible to live in peace with your parents. Here are some tips on how to survive (and maybe even enjoy) the summer. Who knows? After you’re back at school in the fall, you might actually end up missing them.

Do your part around the house

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You may not be getting an allowance anymore, but you’re still joining part of a household — a household full of people who love you and who are probably letting you live there, rent free. Even though you’re an adult now, it would be awesome of you to help around the house, whether you take responsibility for doing everyone’s laundry or washing the dishes every night after dinner. It’ll probably thrill the crap out of your parents, and it’ll help them stay lax when you want to stay out late or have old high school friends over. You’re proving you’ve ~matured~ over the past year, and hopefully that means them loosening the leash a little bit.

Set your boundaries from the start

When you move back in, it’s not a bad idea to have a conversation about everybody’s expectations right from the start. Set your boundaries with your parents, and let them set theirs for you. If you want access to their car, that’s something you’ll have to discuss, rather than just assuming you can grab your mom’s keys when you want to go to Target. If they have a set of ground rules they’d like you to follow — like a curfew or chores they want you to do around the house every week — it’s good to know that upfront, too. And if they’re treating you like you’re still in high school and it’s damaging your relationship with them, it’s okay to speak up about that, too.

“One thing that might help a lot of the time is to say to your parents, ‘Wait a minute, I’m not the little kid I was before and I really don’t like being treated like a teen who just got my driver’s license,’” psychologist Susan Newman told USA Today.

Check in with them, even if they don’t ask you to

Chances are that high that your parents are going to have a million questions, whether they want to know every little detail about your semester or where you’re going so late on a Tuesday night. You can eliminate this (which can, admittedly, be a little annoying) by offering up the information you’re cool with them having yourself. Tell them where you’re going and what time they can expect you home. Throw them a few details about the friends you made at school over dinner. And if they ask you something you’re not comfortable with answering, just say so. “I’d rather not discuss that,” and changing the subject should do the trick.

Besides, you’re sharing a home with these people. While talking to Sparefoot, psychotherapist Christina Steinorth recommended calling your parents to let them know if your plans change while you’re out. It’s important to be respectful of them, and that means letting them know if you’re going to be around for dinner and not waking them up when you come home at two in the morning.

When all else fails, spend time outside of the house

Not everyone has a great relationship with their parents. If you and your parents are butting heads, make it your mission to be home as little as possible to keep the peace. Get a summer job, hang out at friend’s house or the neighborhood pool, or plan a road trip with your BFFs. Just keep yourself busy, and when you are home, you’re more likely to be friendly to Mom and Dad — and they’re more likely to be nice to you, too.

Remember to actually enjoy it

As exciting as growing up and getting that independence you’ve been longing for forever is, your parents won’t be around forever, and you’re finally reaching the end of the period of time where you’ll be under their roof on a regular basis. Take the summer to spend quality time with your family, and enjoy having someone else cooking for you. It’s summer — relax and have fun!

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