School’s out now. All students—young and old—have temporarily escaped the bondage of organized education. National pharmacies have reported their annual and expected spike in tranquilizer prescription refills for parents of adolescent and young adult students home for the summer. Long gone is the sweet breath of innocent babes, pursed from kissable lips adorning precious faces. A couple of decades’ worth of maturation leaves body odors detectable from behind closed bedroom doors. The unimaginable love that once thrilled your heart as they slept is now slightly overshadowed by the fact that they, in fact, remain asleep after you’ve already gone and returned hours later from work. Perhaps they will stir soon and you might catch a glimpse of a sheet-wrinkled face adorned with whisker stubble or smeared mascara. God help you if it’s both.
Practicing Parental Communication Skills to Encourage Options
Whatever rationale you choose to utilize in explaining to the soon-to-be-awakened fruit of your loins that this situation is not reflective of the remaining summer weeks is up to you, and depends a great deal on both your parenting style and the extent of physical violence necessary to gain the attention of your child. Common themes in similar conversations often involve the words “maturity,” “money” and “homelessness.” Frequently used phrases include “doesn’t grow on trees” and “a cold day in Hades.” After an adequate degree of motivation on the part of your child is accomplished through your heartwarming conversation — or one-sided tirade — Flip through to check out some options to suggest he or she enjoys a productive summer:
Review the degree requirements for your student's chosen major to determine if a class can be completed via an online university or through a local community college. The sheer novelty of a computer screen displaying something other than Facebook or YouTube might actually garner the student’s attention toward the intended subject and result in a passing grade.
If your child claims summer-induced illiteracy, refer him to the career services department of his university. The employees there are educated, skilled, knowledgeable and—most importantly—experienced in the motivations behind an early June telephone call requesting a summer position. This late in the game, the only positions remaining will probably be volunteer-based or internships, but at least it will be resume material when real employment is required and provides some incentive for rising before 4 p.m.
The supervision of younger siblings by the older student can also be considered. It will save you childcare costs during the summer months and subconsciously influence your older child toward more responsible behavior.
Pointing out employee-related discounts at retail establishments where your child enjoys spending your money might encourage the completion of an application for employment, provided the previous source of her discretionary spending, i.e. your money, is withheld. This elementary economic lesson often requires two to five years of repeated practice before it’s fully grasped by your child.
Consider a summer camp experience for your child. Incongruously, camp directors often consider your child old enough to be a responsible leader for younger children. The promise of pay at the end of the summer adventure can also be an incentive for them to work and for you to regain some semblance of privacy.