The Christmas holidays and the days between the years are always parents' days for most students. We are returning for a short time. Ok, some of us haven't really gotten out of here yet. This is around a quarter of the students as a national average and, unsurprisingly, the proportion is higher in cities where people live particularly expensively. Others have been greeting their families at Christmas for years via text messages from the Peruvian highlands or the Israeli kibbutz. For some, the concept of the family of origin may have long been disturbed, broken, or never really existed. But the most common case still seems to be time off at home with mom and dad.

If the family reunited in the evening in an almost harmonious atmosphere, we lay down in the beds in our teenagers' rooms a little earlier than usual. Maintaining harmony was perhaps easier because of the good wine, the pretzel sticks and the rich feast. Under the warm, freshly made duvet and under the slight influence of various alcohols, you will feel familiar.

The space between the four walls of our childhood and youth has hardly changed.

It's the same furniture, our somewhat aged favorite cuddly toys watch us happily surprised from their traditional places.

And it even smells like it used to.

It's kind of nice but also strange.

It is not uncommon for our parents to fail when faced with the challenge of rededicating the children's rooms of their children who have moved out after an appropriate transition period.

There are still children's rooms.

They certainly suspect it: a lot would have to go wrong for us to return.

Take help, give help

And so it will probably go on for a few more years at Christmas.

On the one hand.

On the other hand, the situation changes year after year.

At the beginning of our studies we are the chicks who have just fled the nest and who occasionally need a little help from mom and dad on the way to self-determination.

But over time we seem to slowly, almost imperceptibly and yet inexorably, mutate into the supporters of our parents.

At the beginning, dad usually tells us how life works.

We'll explain later how it really works.

Of course, this does not affect every area of ​​life and almost never the financial one.

Our parents want - probably more than theirs were - to keep up with the times.

And most of the time they are.


There is one area of ​​parental expectations that we often fear: the technical support needed to address digital challenges.

Some mothers or fathers assume with great confidence in us that we can fix any misbehavior of any app on their mobile phone.

Usually only on the basis of a moderately precise description.

You then see it as a pure attack when we ask for a temporary handover of the device.

When the relationship changes

It is also not surprising that the parents' knowledge is that the children are already accumulating their own specialist knowledge, whose superficial attempt at mediation only generates a helpless inner defense. Our parents were still able to have a say somehow up to the Abitur, even if it didn't concern their own specialist bubble. But now? Many law students will not try repeatedly to explain the abstraction and separation principles over dinner. A discourse on the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics on the part of the physics student daughter will probably come to nothing.

Even in practical everyday life, the relationship occasionally changes. When moving into the first shared apartment, it was still the technically versed mom who installed the lamps or the culinary ambitious dad who even prepared vegetarian meatballs for general refreshment, they now need our help more and more often. Simply because the hip pinches or the back is on strike. Biology! Now we suddenly build up the new hall wardrobe or oil the terrace floor. Now it is us who are using the skills we have learned in everyday academic life to climb through the instructions for a complex household appliance in which all functions are only controlled via a touch control panel the size of a cigarette box. So that our parents can do laundry or cook soup.

And somehow we don't find this caring role so bad at all. Out of the child role, we suddenly see each other at eye level. Or sometimes even a little more? But let's not kid ourselves. We will be the children and they will remain our parents. We will solve complex legal or mathematical problems and they will ask themselves and us whether we really have to go out on the street alone in the middle of the night (around 9 p.m.). We will research the solution of human problems by means of nuclear fusion and perhaps they will give us a few euro bills to say goodbye after our Sunday visit.

But now I don't want to be unfair in favor of an exaggeration that is as humorous as possible.

Most parents and most of us students are of course very different.

And should one or the other facet apply, our parents will remain and will become really good partners for many exciting topics of conversation or life problems.

Hopefully on an equal footing.

After all, we may be parents at some point.

Lina Kujak

(23 years old) is studying law in her seventh semester at the HU Berlin.

Relationship status to the subject: “It's complicated.” I would like to know who went through 2020 with an umbrella and a black cat under a ladder.