How to deal with family over the holidays

Living/Athens Editor

“How’s school?” “Are you dating anyone, yet?” “What are you doing after graduation- do you have a job, yet?” are just a few of the ever-dreaded questions that one can expect to be asked by family members over the holiday break, along with being expected to help out around the house, run errands for parents and deal with annoying siblings. 

Going home for Christmas can be a relief, especially after the stress of final exams. However, after being at home for more than a few weeks, many students begin to find their families irritating and realize how much they miss the independence of living on their own. 

According to, the habits that students form while living on campus are usually much different than the habits they have while staying at home. 

For example, staying out late with friends, sleeping in late or eating cereal for every meal are things that a student might do at college. But, at home, parents will expect their children to eat meals with the family, possibly have a curfew or have a more conventional sleeping routine. 

“The independence and (relative) lack of accountability of college life can make adjusting to living back at home—whether for a few days over Thanksgiving or for a month over winter break—very challenging,” said NY Times writer Kelci Lucier in a holiday survival guide for students and parents on

The key to dealing with these issues is to find a compromise between what the visiting student wants and what the parents want. One must remember that he or she is in his or her parents’ home again, and there will most likely be things about living at home that he or she isn’t used to after living in a dorm room for an entire semester. However, it’s also important for parents to remember that a students has complete independence for the majority of the year while living on campus, and it’s hard to give that up once the student has tasted it. 

As far as answering all of the questions that family members ask about college life or life after graduation, keep in mind that although very annoying, they only ask because they care. Family members can be a hassle, but, ultimately, their questions are asked out of love. If one doesn’t want to answer the questions or doesn’t know the answer, one should politely avoid answering or simply say, “I have a few ideas, but I’m just not sure yet.” After that, they’ll most likely stop pressing for answers. 

For those who get annoyed about being asked to pick up around the house or make grocery runs for parents, just keep in mind all that parents have done and continue to do. They’ve ran errands since they became parents and are most likely paying for college tuition, so they deserve some type of break. Help them out of respect and love, especially during the holidays.

The best thing to keep in mind over the holiday break is that it’s only temporary. January will come, and it will eventually be time to move back to campus where, surprisingly, many students will find themselves missing the comfort of being home again. 

Remember that parents just want a little extra help with the stress of the holiday season, and they’re happy to have their college student back at home for just a little while. Talk to them and fill them in on campus life instead of ignoring their questions and concerns. And, if none of those tips work and the student finds him or herself overwhelmed by the annoyance of a loud and curious family, just pull a Kevin McCallister in Home Alone and wish them all away.