College can be a tough transition for many reasons; you’re on your own for the first time, you have to make all-new friendships, and you finally get a taste of the freedom that comes with adulthood. One thing we don’t talk about enough, though, is how college affects your relationships with your family members.
When you go off to college, everything changes–and that includes your relationship with your parents. If you’re the first one to go off to college, your parents might have a hard time letting go of their baby, and while that may be difficult for you to understand now, it’s a very normal, valid feeling to have. So how do you enjoy your freedom and set boundaries while still showing respect to the wonderful people who raised you? There are no easy answers since family dynamics can be wildly different from person to person and family to family, but we do have a few suggestions.
1. Discuss expectations around communication with family members.
Be honest with your parents about your expectations for this new chapter of your life, but do so in a gentle, respectful manner. If you’re really ready for adulthood, meaningful communication with the other adults in your life is key. Some parents may expect you to call them every single day, but if that's not your plan, be sure to let them know how often they can expect to hear from you.
2. Be accountable for your actions when situations arise that require you to do so.
Did you fail a test? Did you get in a little trouble on campus? Instead of going to your parents to get you out of trouble; take responsibility by honestly and openly accepting whatever fair consequences come your way. Doing so is an important marker of adulthood, and your parents will respect you more for it!
3. Give your parents a call every now and again.
Like we mentioned above, it doesn’t have to be every single day, but they’re going to want to hear from you because they love you and miss you, and believe it or not, you might miss them, too. This is especially true if you’re going to school a few states away. As you gain new perspective, consider telling your parents how much you appreciate the sacrifices they made or continue to make for you over the years.
Congratulations on this new stage in your life! You’ve got this!