Home For the Holidays – Family Dynamics & The Art of Compromise

It’s time to go home for the holidays. Since going away to college, you come and go as you please. Eat and sleep when you feel like it, and report to no one. Now it’s time to get together with old friends, party ’til dawn, and sleep all day. It’s the perfect way to let loose before to going back to the college grind, right? Right?

Alas, this lifestyle won’t go over well with most families. Demonstrate that new found maturity by being considerate of others-holidays are about family, after all. Of course, it’s important to spend time catching up with friends; just make sure to schedule some quality time with the ‘rents. Remember, you can go back to living the independent lifestyle soon enough. The following tips will help college students communicate effectively and come up with a plan to make the holidays fun-and peaceful-for the whole family.

Guardian parents will typically have the most difficulty adjusting. Naturally protective, Guardians need to ensure that you are safe and well. Upholding customs and traditions is important; be sure and make time to participate in family events. Here are a few more tips:

Keep parents informed of your schedule, especially when plans change.

Ask ahead of time which family events are most important, and be sure to attend.

Make dinner for the family, help clean the house, or offer to run errands. In short, contribute to the family dynamic, by showing that you can carry your weight.

Fun-loving Artisan parents have fewer problems adjusting, as people with this temperament enjoy spontaneity and ‘living in the moment’. But expect some backlash if you flaunt your new found freedom, as they might feel that it impinges on their own freedom. Pleasing Artisan parents:

Spend some family time doing what they love and/or seize the initiative and invite them to do something.

Include Mom and Dad in an outing with friends-Artisans can be a lot of fun!

Confirm at what point they will call the police, then be sure to check in before a search party is formed.

Rational parents usually don’t invoke a lot of rules in the first place. However, if you were raised by Rationals, you know how strong willed they can be. Expect to have a miserable holiday if you engage in a battle of wills over something they consider critical.
Keep the peace with these pointers:

Ask for their opinion on something. Rational parents may fear that children will no longer respect them after leaving home for college.

If parents start to lay down the law, try to find out what’s really bugging them. Apologize and suggest a compromise.

Idealist parents are often the most psychologically equipped for the changes. However, like Guardians, they really need to know that you are OK. Disappearing for 24 hours without checking in will leave any parents worried and/or angry. If your parent is an Idealist:

Plan to spend some time simply talking. Your parent is dying to know what’s going on in your head and how you’re maturing mentally. Keep family informed of your general plans, and updated about any moderate or major changes.

Still not convinced? Think of it this way: it is rude to show up at someone’s home, eat their food (foraging when necessary) and enjoy the amenities, when one can’t manage to give one’s hosts the time of day. In this case, any parent, regardless of temperament, is likely to feel hurt, rejected or angry. So, this year, why not consider a special gift for the folks who made it all possible? Spend some quality family time-who knows, you might even have a good time! For more information on temperament, and to take the free Keirsey Temperament Sorter, please visit Keirsey.com.

Leave a Reply