Going away to college is a time for fresh-out-of-high-school students to finally spread their wings and leave their parents’ nest.
Moving out to college is a transition period for students to learn how to start to live on their own, while still having the comforts provided by mom and dad to fall back on. Friends, college advisers, professors and staff members can act as systems of support for students while at college.
However, this is sometimes hard for parents to grasp, as they don’t always want to let their children go. Sometimes, they even tighten their grasp on their child in an attempt to avoid the inevitable: their little baby growing up.
If you find that you and parents are still struggling to find this balance between letting go or holding on too tight, fret not.
Set up weekly phone calls
Setting up a plan for a weekly phone call is a perfect opportunity to remind your parents that you will still talk to them, but not in the constant and incessant manner they might be vying for.
Setting this boundary will give the communications structure and will assure your parents that you will still call. Allowing for one set phone call gives opportunities to call additional times if your schedule permits. Structure is key in finding balance.
Plan for occasional visits
Sometimes, parents’ minds are put to ease if they see you successfully take care of yourself, keeping up to date with your laundry, eating snacks other than just Ramen and that you do, in fact, occasionally wash your bed sheets. The easiest way to prove this to them is to allow them to occasionally visit to see for themselves.
The key is to keep these visits periodical in order to help find that balance of independence and togetherness. If visits become too frequent, parents may continue to hold on harder and longer than they should. If visits are too spread out, they may think they are losing their baby forever.
If you live too far away for your parents to occasionally come visit you, Skype and FaceTime are other viable options to help put their minds at ease. These video calls let them see how you’re living, even if they can’t be there to see it in person for themselves.
Another benefit to these video calls is that if you have a lot you need to get done, you can just hang up whenever you need to.
You can’t kick your parents out when they’re visiting… as “Full House’s” Stephanie Tanner would say: “How rude.”
When you do talk to your parents, make them feel included in your life. Talk to them about classes, update them on grades, tell them about your social life. These little bits of disclosure will make them feel as though they are still an important part of your life, while also giving you the ability to choose what you do and do not disclose to them.
The thought that they are being included in the discussion of your life will help them feel like they aren’t entirely losing their child just because they live in a different area, or sometimes even a different state, by sending you off to college.
These little tips can help students and parents find a balance between freedom of the student and cohesion of the family. Leaving for college doesn’t mean you need to be entirely independent, but it also doesn’t mean that you need to be entirely connected or reliant on them. Much like any relationship in life, balance is key, and that is especially true for the relationship between parents and their children.
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