A lot changes during the transition from high school to college: surroundings, friends, interests, lifestyle, etc. However, there is one key element in life that also changes during this transition time and is often overlooked. That element is the relationship one has with their parents.
Why the change? The first reason is pretty obvious, and that’s the physical distance between you and your parents that probably did not exist before. Most teenagers do not have to put much effort into maintaining their relationship with their parents while growing up because they see them on a daily basis. Now, because of the distance, both you and your parents must be willing to put in more effort than before to stay in touch.
Your relationship with your parents will also change as you change and grow. Going to college will mark the beginning of your adult relationship with your parents. As you become more independent and less dependent on your parents, the basis of your relationship will change. Some parents may have a difficult time with you not needing them as much as you once did, so be gentle and don’t flaunt your independence too much!
Because of these two reasons it is important to maintain a healthy relationship with your parents while away at college. It is also important to understand and embrace the fact that your relationship with your parents is going to change.
So, here are a few tips to keep in mind while trying to stay connected to your parents after moving to college:
1) Find a form of communication that works for everyone
Everyday there are more communication platforms to choose from: phone calls, letters/mail, text messages, FaceTime, Skype and Facebook are just a few. You may have to help your parents learn how to use some of these applications. My dad recently got a smartphone for the first time and I’m teaching him to use it. Showing him applications such as Facebook has been such a fun, and at times frustrating, experience.
2) Find a convenient time to touch base
Whether you choose to touch base daily with a few quick text messages are block out an hour each week to Skype, scheduling this time will make it more likely to happen. This can be made easier by exchanging schedules so your parents aren’t calling you in the middle of class.
3) Be honest and communicate your feelings
Whether you feel like you need some space or need a little extra help with something, communicate it. Some parents may have eyes in the back of their heads, but they aren’t mind readers. Also, not all parents went to college, and if they did a lot has changed. So, make sure you explain the reality of college to them because at times it can be stressful and you may have to reschedule that weekly Skype date. But you don’t want your parents to think you’re blowing them off.
4) Ask your parents what is happening in their life
A lot will be changing in your life and it will be exciting, so you will probably have a lot to report back to your parents. But don’t forget to ask how things are going for them; even if they just simply tell you about their workday, it will make a difference in your relationship.
5) Communicate the struggles of young adulthood to your parents
Again, a lot has changed since our parents have been in college or have been twenty-somethings trying to start their life. College is the time you learn to become more independent, however it doesn’t all happen at once. So, you still may need help from your parents with somethings. That is okay.
7) Tell them how appreciative you are of them
Whether you are the first or last of your siblings to go off to college, remember that you not being home is going to be a difficult time for your parents. It’s always fun to get a care package from your parents during midterms, but remember you could always send them something nice too! Like all relationships, your relationship with your parents is a two way street.
Overall, every individual is different and everyone’s relationship with their parents are going to differ. But just remember how much your parents have done for you and the support they’ve provided through out your life. Parents are so awesome that there’s even a national holiday for them! Sunday, July 24 is Parents’ Day, so recognize this day and make sure to do what’s best for you and your relationship with your parents while in college!