Attending your college student’s homecoming weekend is usually a big deal, especially if your student is a freshman. However, many times the bond between parents and child can be tested by a visit from mom and dad, which places some extra emphasis on visiting a college student for homecoming weekend. The trick is to relate and seem plugged in without being odd or sticking out like a sore thumb. The fact is parents just try too hard sometimes. College is a time for learning yes, and a substantial investment goes into that learning, but college is also a time for the kids to find their identities as they develop into respectable adults.
The main guideline is to have a good plan in place long before taking the trip. Parents know their kids better than anyone, and if you do not think your son or daughter would appreciate a surprise visit at the dorm, you should avoid it. Instead of dictating the terms of the trip, ask your child what they would like to do. Perhaps they want to get out of town and take a trip, maybe they want to go shopping, and maybe they want to show their parents the places they see every single day. If there is something you want to do with your child suggest it, chances are the kid (okay, okay, young adult) will want to jump right in.
Whenever it is time to meet the pals, remember to keep an open mind. As parents we place a value on our judgment, usually because many of us have been down the road a few times, but having a little faith in your adult child will likely go a long way. Parents who do have concerns about a friend at college should refrain from speaking about that person in public, as the walls have ears on campus. Instead, while on the way to dinner casually inform your student that so and so reminds you of something, the ice breaker should help get conversation going. Incidentally, avoid inviting roommates to dinner with you unless your student has already approved it (they might want a little one on one time).
Homecoming weekend can be a special time to create some great memories. By staying neutral and listening to their college student, parents can gain an insight into what really goes on on-campus. Letting the student dictate the terms of the visit can seem a little frightening to many parents, but then again, letting them go in the first place was likely the real challenge.