I feel like I have adjusted to college and moving away from home pretty well. My parents, however, are a different story. They check in with me ALL of the time. At first it was nice but now it is getting kind of annoying. I sometimes get as many as seven calls or texts in one day! How can I tell them to ease up a bit without hurting their feelings or making them feel like I don’t care?
Signed, Trying to Cut the Cord
Dear Trying to Cut the Cord,
First of all, kudos to you for adjusting to moving out of your home and into college life without too much difficulty. It takes many students a few months to really adjust to the change without feelings of homesickness or instability. You are doing something right and most likely, so did your parents.
Suggestions regarding setting some limits with your parents, first and foremost must involve communication. Try to talk to them honestly. Yes, I said “talk.” Although we are in the era of text messaging and Snapchat, verbal communication is still more effective when it comes to sensitive subjects. (This goes for everything, by the way.) If you can’t connect with your parents in person, call them. Tell them that you appreciate that they are checking in, but let them know that you are giving the independent thing a real try and talking to them throughout the day makes that hard. Approach the conversation calmly and maturely. They will likely feed off of you. If you are frustrated and defensive, they will be too. If you are short and limited in your communication, they will just keep pressing on. If you state your concern honestly and give them a possible solution, they may be more apt to comply.
Suggest that you set aside a time to talk weekly or bi-weekly or whatever is comfortable for you and then be true to that time. Find a time that works best for both of you. If you are good on your commitment, maybe you will both learn to look forward to that time. Sure, there will be instances in which things come up unexpectedly. Be sensitive to messages of urgency. Be clear about how much time you have to give them when these things come up.
Regarding text messaging, welcome texts but let them know that you will likely not respond to them throughout the day. Not responding to every message will likely lead to a decrease in messages. Keep in mind, however, the next time you need something from your parent, you may not get the quickest response to your text message if they catch on to the new tread you are setting. Nobody likes double standards.
Overall, being an adult and on your own means having to set clear boundaries. You have the right to set limits. Just remember to be considerate. Thanking your parents for all they have done for you certainly helps when you are expressing a grievance. They may be a little put off at first but will likely come around to see that you are just growing up.