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Avoiding Parenting Clashes With College-Age Kids: Studio 5


They’re back! College kids are home for the summer and while it’s normal to butt heads a bit during summer break, therapist, Julie Hanks, says there are ways to avoid clashes and enjoy the summer together.

As your college-age children come home for summer it’s important to address and renegotiate these “hot button” topics head on, before different expectations turn into sources of contention. Be proactive and address topics together adult to adult. It can be tricky to navigate the rules because they are technically an adult, but you still your home. Here are some common sources of conflict among college kids and parents and some tips to help you smooth the transition to parenting adult children during the summer months.


Curfew seems to be the most common topic of disagreement between parents and adult children. I’ve recently heard a fried say, “I know he’s an adult, but I just can’t sleep if I know he hasn’t come home yet.” I said, “You slept just fine for the past nine months while he was away at school!”

Revise house rules together ASAP

You are no longer legally responsible for your child’s behavior and whereabouts, but you do have the right to set guidelines for what goes on in your home. For nine months away at college your adult child has made choices for him or herself on when to go to bed, when to eat, how to spend money, how to spend her time. Don’t expect old house rules to apply to your college-age child when he or she returns home for the summer.


It is reasonable to expect your adult child to contribute to the household in some way either financially or through participating in household chores. How much should I expect? Should my daughter get a summer job? Who pays for what? Do I make them pay rent? Should I pay for their car or gas? There are no right answers.

Focus on your boundaries, not theirs

Decide what you will and won’t do instead of trying to dictate what they should do. For example, you may decide not to do your adult child’s laundry. If son’s laundry is piling up all over the floor and he has no clean clothes, the best approach is to do nothing. Don’t nag or criticize. And if your child is asking for money to go out with friends say, “I will pay for your dinner if we’re going out as a family, but if you’re going out with friends you’ll have to figure that one out on your own.”


Many adult children look at summer as a break from the pressures of schoolwork, finals, and endless hours of studying. They want to relax and reconnect with old friends, and have more unstructured time. Parents, on the other hand, might view their child’s “break” from school as being lazy and unproductive, and may even wonder, “Have I failed as a parent?

Reflect, don’t direct

Reflect what your adult child is doing or saying without telling them what to do and how to do it. Instead of nagging about them sleeping in until noon say “You must be really tired”. Actively encourage their positive efforts and goals.


While you may envision your college child spending a lot of time with the family, he or she may have different expectations. Previous norms of family dinners, family reunions, Sunday dinner at Grandma’s, and other holiday traditions may need to be renegotiated with your young adult.

Invite but don’t expect

Invite your young adult to participate in activities, but don’t expect them to join in every activity. Keep up your own interests and social activities, too. I came across this suggestion online and thought it was brilliant and may help you make the needed shift in expectations with your college-age child:

“Treat your returning child like a foreign exchange student — someone who might be persuaded to share your quaint customs (such as having breakfast before noon), while passing on a few of her own (such as the vegan cooking she learned from her roommate).” (


“He won’t go to church with our family” is a common complaint I hear in my clinical practice with families when college kids come home for summer. During several months living away from family adult children may start to question his or her family’s beliefs Religious differences or having a child leave the faith can parents wondering, “Where did we go wrong?”

Place connection above conformity

Your child will have changed while they were away from school – in ways that please you, and in ways that disappoint. Even if you don’t love the choices and beliefs your child is making, be curious about your child’s thoughts and feelings in a way that allows room for open dialogue and mutual respect. Remember that your connection with them is the most important thing. This is the time of life where you child needs to room to sort through what he or she values and believes.

Taming Your Vicious Inner Critic (part 2): B98.7

Does that little voice in your head say mean things to you, call you names, point out all of your weakness? What’s behind our tendency to to belittle ourselves? Here are 3  specific tips to tame your inner critic, and a warning about how self-criticism can negatively impact your children (even if you are telling them how wonderful THEY are)

Click arrow below to listen…

Listen to part 1 here

Ok. Now it’s YOUR turn to take my challenge. Post 10 things you like about yourself below! (Your email will be kept private. I promise!)

Tuesday Tunes: Window To His Love by Julie de Azevedo

STORY Behind the song “Window To His Love”

I was in tears after giving a musical fireside to a youth group one Sunday night about 20 years ago. “Why am I doing this?” I asked myself. Why was I putting myself through the stress of giving up my Sunday nights, leaving my little baby, and singing for people? From my point of view the fireside had been a complete failure, void of the spirit, and not worth the effort for me or for the congregation. “Why am I doing this music thing? What went wrong?” I asked myself and God as I prayed through my tears.

Rarely have my prayers been answered immediately, but this prayer was different. If I’m remembering correctly, it was that very same night an image of a window with the Savior standing behind it flooded my mind and soon after, most of the words poured out on paper through my tears as I plunked the melody out on our little upright piano. This was truly a gift of mercy given to a young wife and mother in her early 20’s who for years had been plagued with insecurities and self-doubt, but also arm with strong desire to do God’s will and to follow Jesus Christ.

Heavenly Father taught me what went wrong at the fireside as he gently showed me that I was in way. I was so worried about myself, how I was doing, sounding, and how I looked, that he couldn’t work with me. He couldn’t use me as an instrument. I needed to get out of the way so he could work through me. The lyrics to “Window To His Love” have become a motto for over 2 decades and the truths in this song were and are my only hope for making a difference in the world. I want to be a window to His love.

LISTEN To “Window To His Love”

Download “Window To His Love” on iTunes

State of the Heart CD (reprise – piano/vocal)
State of the Heart CD (pop version)
Pray For Rain Live Concert CD / EFY
Window to His Love: Intimate Renditions of Inspirational Favorites CD


Window to His Love (Reprise)

From the album State of the Heart
Words & Music: Julie de Azevedo
© 1992 Mohrgud Music (BMI)

I want to be a window to His love
So when you look at me you will see Him
I want to be so pure and clear
That you won’t even know I’m here
‘Cause His love will shine brightly through me

I want to be a doorway to the truth
So when you walk beyond you will find Him
I want to stand so straight and tall
That you won’t notice me at all
But through my open door He will be seen

A window to His love
A doorway to the truth
A bearer of the message
He’d have me bring to you
And with each passing day
I want to fade away
‘Til only He can be seen
And I become a window to His love

I want to be a window to His love
So you can look through me and you’ll see Him
And someday shining through the glass
You’ll see His loving countenance
‘Cause I will have become like He is

A doorway to the truth
A bearer of the message
He’d have me bring to you
And with each passing year
I want to disappear
‘Til He’s become everything
And I’ve become a window to His love

FUN FACTS ABOUT “Window To His Love”

  • The only hate mail I ever received was about this song.
  • I’ve recorded this song more times than any other song I’ve written.
  • This song is the most recorded songs that I’ve written, recorded numerous times by many other artists.
  • The words original words “And someday shining through my face” were recorded on the first recording were changed to “And someday shining through the glass you’ll see His loving countenance.”
  • The first recording of Window to His Love appeared on the CD “Charity Never Faileth.”
  • It’s been recorded in many different languages.
  • This is the most widely performed song I’ve written (probably because it’s one of the few “chapel appropriate” songs in my collection).
  • People who know this song usually don’t know who wrote it (and I love it).
  • When I polled my Julie de Azevedo Facebook friends which song introduced them to my music “Window To His Love” had the most votes by a long shot.
  • Google search turns up about 45 pages when you search the song title. Try it.
  • There are several YouTube videos/slideshows about the song (none of which I was involved in)
  • The little baby crawling around when I wrote this song is now serving a full-time LDS mission in England and is listening to the CD “Window To His Love” and sharing it with converts and companions.
  • I continued to be overwhelmed and humbled when I perform this song and the majority of the audience can sing a long on the chorus. It still blows me away after 20 + years that a little song that came through a desperate twenty-something has reached so many people. God is good.

Has “Window To His Love” has touched your life in some way? Have you sung it for a special occasion? Did you hear it at a particularly difficult time? I’d love to have your share your experience by commenting below.