Dear Students and Parents,
(Please remember that each Pacia location and family situation is unique and may have different needs or advice)
As we move into the holiday season, we send out a generic letter to all of our Pacia families. We are wanting to share information from our many years of learning how to navigate through the “emotions of holidays” that we feel is helpful for you to consider. Please read over the pertinent information and apply it to your specific family situation as is applicable. This message is only intended to help you brainstorm, ask questions, and make plans before you get into deep conversations with your young adult student about holiday visits.
Over the years, we have seen many predictable patterns around the holidays that we would like to share with you.
- Planning for the holidays should include your young adult and at least one of Life Coaches. Behind the scene planning usually is a sign of a setback in the making.
- Pacia Life provides services during the holidays. Some of our students have retail jobs, travel for international service or just want to stay and not return to their parents home for the holidays. This is normal and ok.
- Stress. The most stressful time of year for our adult students is November and December (the holidays.)
- Setbacks. As stated on our website and in parent coaching, the number one predictor of failure is the parents. This is never more true than in November and December. Based on years of outcome studies, statistics show that during this time period, the wrong kind of family/friend involvement has devastating results and setbacks.
- Negative patterns. Returning home to see old friends, family, even old bedrooms will trigger old behaviors and childlike patterns.
- Transitioning out of Pacia. Statistical outcomes show that transitions out of Pacia during the months of November, December and January have very low success rates. Especially if these transitions are made out of an emotional reaction rather than a planned decision. (Exception is if the student is transitioning back into a college environment in January that has been the plan for many months already.)
We completely understand the excitement in having your young adult visit for the holidays and family bonding time. We are in full support of working on the family system to create a healthy dynamic! Because of this, we have some suggestions and invitations that can help the holiday visits run more smoothly.
- Length is key. Plan holiday visits for “just the right amount of time.” Too long almost always backfires. Typically one of two sentiments comes out of a holiday visit. “Wow, we wish we would have had more time!” or “Dear Pacia, we need your help because the following old behavior pattern resurfaced…” We always prefer to hear “Wow, we wish we had more time.” Historically speaking, 4 to 5 days is good.
- Take a family trip or come to the location where your adult child is living. One of the easiest ways to avoid old patterns repeating, is to take a trip somewhere for the holiday visit. Whether you go to where your student is living, or you all fly to meet somewhere, staying out of the previous home environment is a simple way to avoid old negative behaviors.
- Stick to the young adult’s Pacia Budget. A large part of being an independent adult is finances. Much focus is put on financial flourishing while enrolled in Pacia Life. It can be tempting to want to spoil your young adult, out of desire to make the visit special or out of parental guilt. We encourage you to make the visit special in other ways than monetary spending and large gift giving. Giving cash almost always backfires.
- No cash. Tying into the suggestion above, we advise that students do not return from their holiday visits with any cash or money from parents. This creates that childlike dynamic and attitude once again, and takes motivation out of budgeting.
- Have a solid plan in place. We encourage you to have a solid agreement/plan/contract in place prior to the trip. Preemptive communication regarding agreements, family vs. friend time, a plan for coming back to Pacia if the trip goes awry, etc. Clear boundary setting prior to a holiday visit is one of the main keys to success of the visit, leaving very little space for misunderstanding and/or manipulation.
- Not ready? If your adult child is not ready to be home for the holidays, that is also just fine. Pacia is setup to have students stay.
The team members of your Pacia Life Family are all in favor of successful, fun, bonding, and positive family interactions! There is nothing we love more than to see our students (your young adults) learn to interact with the world and their family in healthy, independent, constructive ways.
One of the most impactful steps toward independence is a student forming a healthy, adult relationship with their parents. The invitations above come from years of experience with this population, including our own adult children, and our deep desire for an experience of family cohesion.
Our Parent Coaches and Life Coaches are more than willing to work with each of you individually, to help create a holiday plan that will provide your family with the greatest chance of success.
All our best,
Your Pacia Team