When home isn't a place for the holidays

 Photo courtesy of unsplash.com

Photo courtesy of unsplash.com

Megan Conley, Assistant Editor

For most students, Christmas break is a time to relax and enjoy quality time with family without the stress of school. However, a number of students find their breaks contain more bad vibes than Christmas cheer.

According to the National Vital Statistics System, there were 2.1 million marriages and 851,000 divorces in 2012. This trend is steadily growing in America and more students find themselves returning to broken homes.

Ruth McWhite, Director of Women’s Ministries at North Greenville University, offers advice for students who will return to an undesirable situation during Christmas break.

“Avoid going home and giving advice and telling everything that’s wrong. If anything, go home and look for everything that is good. Whatever is good will only encourage your parents. If for no other reason, it feels good to sleep in your own bed,” said McWhite.

For many students, college is their first time away from home and they experience a different world while they are away.

“What has been normal for eighteen years is what you assume has been normal for everyone until you step out of that. Then you have that gradual descent back into home and realize there is unhealthy stuff happening,” said McWhite.

When students return home during break, sometimes they are bombarded with the feeling that they are a stranger in their own house. Sue Suomi, counselor at North Greenville University, offers advice for students who experience this situation.

“Going back home after being independent, no one at home knows you’ve been independent so their lives continue on as it was before you left,” said Suomi. “You expect to continue on. That’s what I see even more than people going home to dysfunctional homes is ‘how do I deal with this when I’m used to being independent?’”

Suomi suggests ways that students can prevent these situations from causing more tension in the home.

“For those that are going back into a dysfunctional home, recognize some of that boundary setting that you’ve learned with a roommate. You have to still be respectful of the common dysfunction at home and realize that you’re not going to be able to change that over Christmas break,” said Suomi.