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of the Double Cohort
In September, 2003, parents in Ontario, Canada, sent more children off
to university than in the any other year in the history of the province
For this year, grade 13 was eliminated and so the last of the grade 13
students entered university along with the grade 12 students. This group
of students is known in the province as the “Double Cohorts”. However,
many parents throughout the world must adjust to the return of children
from first year university. This article addresses their return.
a sequel to a bad horror show the double cohort is back to haunt us.
That’s right, first year university is over and thousands of Ontario
youths are returning home to the roost. They are ready to light on
Over their first year, they have somehow learned to manage on their own.
The can go through beer like fish through water. They can stay up all
night unfazed like a low-watt fluorescent bulb. They are independent and
self-reliant. And now they are home.
For some parents it means no more swinging on the chandelier, no more sex
in the kitchen, no more privacy. For other families it may mean having to
share again, line ups for the bathroom and no more hot water as the
washing machine churns on.
Parents have to adapt to their children’s newfound independence and the
home-from-school students have to adapt as subordinates in the family
How do they cope?
Unlike when your children were younger, parents can no longer simply
demand obedience. You have finally raised young adults and they seek to be
treated as such. Return from first year university is time to renegotiate
the relationship and the rules. Most rules are no longer a matter of
parental control. Now they must be conceived in the context of mutual
respect and regard. The issue is not the curfew, but not disrupting the
family when returning home late at night. Parents should no longer be
maids with the home a hotel. Rather, this independent lot is quite capable
of fending for themselves. They can do their own laundry.
The house with kids is now a group of related co-habiting adults. Expect
and treat each other as such and the horror may subside to only be a
drama. Embrace it and you can have a comedy.
Hey son, can I borrow a condom?
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him
an expert on child development, parent-child relations, marital and family
therapy, custody and access recommendations, social work and an expert for
the purpose of giving a critique on a Section 112 (social work) report.
Search Gary’s name on GOOGLE.COM to view his many articles or visit his
website. Call him for your next conference and for expert opinion on
family matters. His services include counseling, mediation, assessment and
information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane,