You’ve started your new life with new classes and new friends, and you’re caught up in that whirlwind of freshman year of college. It’s easy to forget that nothing’s stopped back home.
Your parents are in their same routines, only with a quieter house. And guess what? They miss you. Some parents have an easier adjustment period than others, but your parents are still human, and it’s difficult for them to say goodbye to their own flesh and blood.
You are essentially in the process of redefining your relationship with your parents, which is a difficult thing to do. Play around with different methods of communication, and assert your needs during this time of transition. Consider the following suggestions:
Pick up their phone calls, and hear what they have to say. Just allowing them to speak can help them work through their loneliness at first. Encourage them to try new things and branch out — maybe adopt a pet? If you listen, you are more likely to be heard when you need it.
Consider making a phone date to chat — once a week on Sunday nights perhaps? If your parents aren’t as tech-savvy as you, or even if they are, they will appreciate hearing your voice. They know you better than most people in this world and can hear things through your voice that you may not have the words to say. You can’t get that with text or email.
If talking on the phone doesn’t work for you and your parents, try something else. Webcam? Email? Texting? Hand-written letters? Your method of communicating should both fit your schedule and also allow you to catch up in a comfortable way.
Send handwritten notes, silly selfies, or that candy that you can’t find anywhere else. Let your parents know that you think of them.
Some people love chatting daily with their mom. For others, it’s just not possible. You have a lot going on, and it’s important to develop your independence as well. College is a huge adjustment period academically, socially, and emotionally. You have many responsibilities you didn’t have before, and it’s important to make sure you are able to take care of yourself. This means prioritizing and being assertive when you aren’t able to please everybody.
If your parents want to talk more than you are able to, then apologize and tell them you aren’t able to talk to them every day, but tell them what you can offer. A call every Tuesday and Thursday? A text every morning? Video chat on Sunday afternoons? Every relationship is a give and take. Tell your parents you love them, but be firm about what you need to be successful.
Your family is important — they made you who you are, after all. And when things get stressful (it happens) you will have people on the other end of your phone who are ready to back you up. Having a solid support network is huge, and regular contact is key to building that network.