Kids Home from College? the Birds and the Bees: Part II ...

It's May, and when the kids return home from college, they may well bring a renewed understanding of that "birds and the bees" talk you gave them so long ago. The birds are suddenly singing a new tune -- and the bees have learned to pollinate. Back then, you may not have imagined them one day taking S-E-X so seriously!

Parents who welcome home their post-frosh sons and daughters had better brace themselves. Parent-child relationships usually do broach the subject of sexuality from time to time, but the tendency is often to keep it locked away.

But summer means hotter temperatures, less clothing, late nights, and the fling factor. And let's face it -- your kids aren't quite "kids" anymore, and many become exposed to a kind of sexual education outside the classroom.

It's inevitable for a parent to confront this stage of young adulthood -- children do eventually become sexual beings. But how do you keep an empty nest from turning into a flophouse on school breaks? While living under the same roof, learn to mentally prepare yourself to face their physical endeavors. You can keep control, but loosening the parental chokehold may be necessary to maintain the healthiest communication with your child.

Find your absolutes -- rules that must be followed in your home -- because most teenagers are used complete freedom on campus. A son or daughter may want to convert their old bedroom into a dorm, complete with open invitations to friends. If so, remember that overnight guests stay only at your discretion, since it's still your household. But think to extend them the same courtesies as you would a guest -- that means offering privacy and holding back on the temptation to pry.

Remember too to stay open to compromise. It's important that children feel heard as they develop into adults -- and often they have questions and concerns during the discovery of their sexual life. Wouldn't you rather help in that exploration than leave it up to fraternity brothers? Seize each new change as an opportunity to grow closer, not further apart, despite any awkward feelings.

And don't forget, it's important to keep romping in your own bedroom -- after all, you've probably enjoyed the time apart from your kids as much as they have! Your own intimate connection is the best example your kids can have. They're still learning, and little do they know that their sex life has hopefully just begun.

It's easy to lurch back into high-school parent mode when kids return from college, but as they grow, keep in mind that the role of a parent changes with the child -- and you'll continue to learn about life together!

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