Prevention Plus: Home for the summer

One message that many of you have heard from me is simple: you have the right to set rules and boundaries in your home regardless of your child’s age, and how successfully they may have negotiated their time at college. One of my favorite lines to use with young adult clients who say, “I am 19, I can do what I want,” is to say, “I am 53 and I can’t stay out all night, drive after drinking, etc. We all have rules that we choose to live by out of caring and respect for our loved ones.”

1) Don’t wait until you disagree with something your child requests or states they are going to do. Try: “When you are home we will have some of the same guidelines we had last summer. Let us know what your major plans are as soon as you know them.”

2) Speak calmly, but with love and firmness about your displeasure/worry about your child’s plans. Parents have more influence than they realize on their child’s behavior simply by stating what they expect and want together with a message of love and concern.     

3) Stick to your standards for behavior and once you have set your boundaries for safety, stay with them. The parent/teen interaction of  “you’re grounded” will not cut it; instead, talk to your young adult child as you would an employee or someone who is an equal, but who you are concerned about.

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Jorgensen is a guest contributor to this column, and the owner of Insight Counseling Center in Copps Hill Commons.