After my youngest son graduated from high school in the spring, he had a great summer of semi-transitioning into adulthood. He worked many hours at Chick-Fil-A, and he was a responsible social creature. He did stay up too late more nights than not, but he did seem to be on a declining video game schedule.
When he started at college in the fall (really not even late summer), he seemed to find his college stride. He only visited home a couple of times. He complained about the food in the cafeteria almost every chance he could. He had a couple of missteps with his assignments and with the colleges curfew policy, but despite his frustration, he worked to resolve the problems in a mature way with only enough pain to remind him not to do it the next time. He got involved in extracurricular activities which limited his opportunity to make bad decisions. In summary, he spared us the challenge of helping him solve problems from 3 1/2 hours away.
Unfortunately, while he was home for Thanksgiving, I realized there was still quite a bit of boy in there. Two days before he was coming home, he called me asking if I would transfer money from his saving to his checking account. He wanted to pull money out of an ATM to buy someone’s lightly used Nintendo DS (newest model I think). Since he had been good this quarter, I agreed. After he got home, he seemed to spend a good bit of his time with his computer. He was playing RuneScape. (He did do other social things, but I rapidly was becoming convinced he was not letting the influence of the other students in the honor dorm break him of all of his habits.) Lastly, him and his brother went out and did some “Black Thanksgiving” shopping Thursday night. He did buy some Christmas gifts for others, but he also purchased himself a new game. And, he went to GameStop on Black Friday and bought even more stuff.
As I look back, I can’t help but believe this bit of regression is rather normal. After taking almost exclusive responsibility for himself AND his laundry for a few months, it is so easy to fall into your old behaviors. Although we would likely still recognize his more mature self, it is comforting to see him regress just a little bit. And, as much as I would like to see the mature young man who calls us about once a week from school, all regressing is acceptable….as long as the report card confirms he is as mature as we think!