OPINION: How to navigate your evolving relationship with your parents during college


I have something to admit. I haven’t lived steadily with my parents since my freshman year of college, but almost every time I go to see them, I find myself crying or getting emotional as I drive away.

My freshman year of college I lived in the dorms, and while I found myself going home the first weekend because college didn’t feel quite right yet, I spent many weekends not going home and weeks without seeing my parents. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to see them; it was because it was too hard to leave.

Over the past couple of years, I have moved in and out of my parent’s house at different points. I moved out with my boyfriend recently, which means I probably moved out of my parents house for the last time.

It was hard to understand at first why my parents wanted me to come home more. I won’t pretend that it hasn’t been a point of contention between us.

But as a college student who has been through it and came out on the other side, I would like to give some advice to those currently struggling with this for the first time.

We all know that we love our parents. As we go through college and meet new people and gain new responsibilities, it’s easy to get distracted and tell ourselves that we’ll just see our parents next week.

I want to emphasize how important it is to set aside this time. Without your parents, you never would have made it to college in the first place. While it is a time to grow and learn and try new things and maybe not tell your parents everything, it is also a time that your parents want to be involved in and possibly have been looking forward to it for you.

Share what your life is like as a college student. Share your successes, your failures, because the truth is your parents are going to stick around a lot longer than most of the friends you make in college. These are your homies for life, and you need to appreciate them.

Your parents do worry about you as you are at college, even if they don’t show it.  Keeping them informed about what is going on in your life helps them sleep easier at night, instead of staying up wondering what you have been up to.

I don’t want to look back at my time in college as a time when I went MIA on my parents. Also, and you probably know this, but your parents usually have really good, sound advice on how to navigate your problems because they probably have experienced a variation of the same issue.

It’s okay to not see your parents all the time when you are in college. We are all very busy. But make sure they know that you love them, by making time when you can and continue to include them in your life. Even just a daily phone call for a couple of minutes.

Even though you may not need them for the same things that you used to, embrace your evolving relationship because someday your parents won’t be here. You don’t always get the chance to make up for lost time, so don’t lose any of it.