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Parents Moving To College With Me. Help!

nvb123nvb123 Registered User Posts: 151 Junior Member
Hi everyone,

I am a rising junior this year, but my parents have already established to me that they are going to move to college with me wherever I go (I live in the Midwest, but most of the schools I want to go to are in the East Coast). The background behind this is that we are a tight-knit family (and I am an only child), so they feel that it's important for me to be able to see them whenever I want and for them to help me with chores and stuff when I am studying/doing college stuff. They told me that I can live on campus, but they want to live very close to the university I go to. Basically, they're telling me they'll give me independence but will still want to be close to me.

However, I want to experience college life alone. I want to move college on my own and live fully independently. I feel like if my parents live 20-30 minutes away from the university, I'll be obligated to meet them regardless of the situation. I feel like this pulls away from the actual experience of "discovering" yourself and becoming a person separate from your parents. I think if my parents live right next to me, I will be forced to be the way they want me to be and not really become my own person. They told me they won't "control" me at all, but I don't understand how this experience is anything close to living far away and in a new place. In my opinion, college is a time for the CHILD to move somewhere new and experience life on their own, not to make it a complete family upheaval.

I've tried talking to them about why I want to do this, but they always say that what I'm saying doesn't make sense and that I have to understand that they are trying to "help" me. However, I don't want that help, I want to live life fully independently. It's not like all the other college students are failing to get these tasks done, right?

I want to talk to them about this one more time and tell them that doing this will make my college experience less enjoyable, but I need to be able to answer the inevitable "why" question. Could you all give me a perspective on this and help me concretely answer the "why"?

Thanks in advance!
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Replies to: Parents Moving To College With Me. Help!

  • nvb123nvb123 Registered User Posts: 151 Junior Member
    Oh, and almost every single person I've talked and they've talked to disagrees with them on the fact that it's really that helpful moving to college with me. Many people feel like this is just kind of "overprotective" and pulling away from the real learning experience of independence in college. However, my parents say that this won't be overprotective because I can choose to see them whenever I want (but honestly, let's be real here), and that the chores that they want to help with are unnecessary and cause students to not focus. I don't know how to say anything else because they won't change their mind on anything, they just say "they'll give me all the independence I want." The problem is, I want to move to college alone but that's the one thing they won't allow!!
  • washugradwashugrad Registered User Posts: 790 Member
    It sounds like they are having trouble with the idea of being empty-nesters. Do they have jobs they love? Are they involved with friends, community, other relatives that live nearby, etc? Are they from a culture where kids normally live with their parents until they get married... or even longer?
    Maybe you could say something like "Mom, Dad, I love you very much and I appreciate everything you've done for me. College is a time for me not just to study but to make new friends and develop independence. It's also a time for you to enjoy the freedom of not having a kid living at home. It will be an adjustment for all of us but it's a normal and healthy step as I grow up."
    Something like that.
  • nvb123nvb123 Registered User Posts: 151 Junior Member
    @washugrad Yea, in our family culture it's not abnormal for parents to live near the child for a long time (not necessarily live with, but live near). They both work 'lucrative' jobs not because they like them, but because they want to support me. So basically, they work to support the family. They also purposely got jobs that will allow them to move anywhere they want (they work from home all week). And regarding what you're saying, I've told them that before. They tell me that since I'm living on campus I'll have all the independence I want, but they just want to have the feeling of being close. And they basically live life for me so I don't really think saying enjoy the freedom of not having me at home would be really great. And regarding past college, my parents also want to move with me wherever I go to grad school. Like they basically just want to follow me around for my whole life. The main reason is bc they both lived away from parents in college and they didn't feel like they accomplished what they could've if their parents were closeby to help them (they went to college in India btw, they're immigrants). They think this will ensure that I stay on track with school and life and don't get involved in bad stuff. They say that even if I am a good kid, people in college will mess with you and can change your life.
  • nvb123nvb123 Registered User Posts: 151 Junior Member
    @aunt bea My parents are quite well off.. this won't be an issue for them. lol good idea tho
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 4,147 Senior Member
    First off OP, I think you are absolutely right. College is the time to start developing the skills to live independently away from home. I would be crystal clear that 30 minutes away or 9 hours away, you will be coming home ONLY on school breaks.

    The reality is that you are going to be busy with classes, group projects, and studying. Let alone organizations and activities.

    Are you parents going to move again when you go to grad school? When you find a job? Change job/get transferred? That's a lot of upheaval and a lot of expense for nothing.
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 4,147 Senior Member
    Just saw the answer to the above question about following you around the country :(.

    If they are dead set on following you, the best you can do is set up super clear boundaries. And then go study abroad!
  • nvb123nvb123 Registered User Posts: 151 Junior Member
    @momofsenior1 Exactly! But guess what they have said, "if it doesn't matter when you'll come back home, why don't you want us moving closer to you? It'll give us the satisfaction."
  • me29034me29034 Registered User Posts: 1,640 Senior Member
    I think @auntbea nailed it. Have your parents check out prices of apartments or homes in the northeastern cities you are considering and compare that to the midwest where you live now. I suspect they will be shocked.

    If you aren't successful at getting them to stay where they are, then it seems you do have the power not to ask them for help. I'm not sure what they are planning to help with but just don't ask them. Do your own laundry, shopping, etc.
  • nvb123nvb123 Registered User Posts: 151 Junior Member
    @me29034 yes they've seen the prices, especially in places like Boston, Philly, etc. They're ready for that though!

    I do have the power not to ask them for help, but the main thing I'm trying to show is that I don't want them to move with me! The biggest worry I have is that when my parents are 30 minutes away I will 100% depend on them more and I won't actually live college the way I probably should. I want to tell them that, but I need to give them concrete proof that living far away from home is better.
  • BrianBoilerBrianBoiler Registered User Posts: 614 Member
    edited July 2018
    @nvb123 You are in a tough spot, that is for sure.

    I'm sure you believe you've done this, but have you been very clear in your feelings. "Mom & Dad, I do not want you moving to the same city where I'll be attending college. To a point that if you insist on doing this, I will not go to college." Of course you don't mean it, but to that level maybe what is needed for them to understand how absolutely you don't want them near you. "I love you guys, and I promise to be in communication with you, but it is better for me and I think it is better for you to let me do this on my own. The world is small, we can afford to travel to see each other, but I need to learn to be on my own."

    If you cannot get them to budge, offer a compromise. Something like "If I go to Harvard, you could move to Providence or Hartford." You'll be close, but still a couple hours drive away so I can get to you if I absolutely need to, but far enough that I can learn to be independent."

    My wife's mother and my wife are very close. When we got married, my mother was disappointed that we chose to live 1 1/2 hours away. But even that small distance made the visits happen about once a month which was good for my mother-in-law and my wife.
  • GoatGirl19GoatGirl19 Registered User Posts: 234 Junior Member
    Wow, it seems like there's a lot to unpack here... I think it's super sweet of your parents to want to help you out with chores and stuff while you're in college (and maybe offer you the chance to commute), but I can also see why you would feel like it impacts your independence.
    I grew up in Asia as the only child of parents who waited a while to have a kid. My whole extended family is mostly in New England, so my parents and I are very close because we really had only each other for a very long time. The entire time I was applying to colleges, my folks lamented that there were no really good options right across the street from our apartment. I wished there were options closer to home too; and I'm crazy excited to have them moving back to the States in another few years when they retire. However, I definitely value my college years partially because they taught me to live independently. My college is in a slightly dodgy New England city, and now I have also lived, by myself, in New York City and Philadelphia. My boyfriend likes to say that unlike him (he grew up living in cities), you could drop me in any city in the world and I could probably get pretty good at navigating it within a day.

    My freshman year roommate was also an only child, and she grew up (and her parents still lived) about 20 minutes from our college. She seemed really eager to get away from her family and, just so you know, had no trouble being independent. She had very little contact with her parents, maybe texting them once every few weeks, whereas my mom and I text back and forth (when the time zones line up) every day for at least half an hour or so. Her mom was super sweet and we all wished we had seen more of her, because she brought baked treats for Halloween, and made us each little gift bags for Valentine's Day. My roommate didn't go home every weekend, partially because freshman year is a very busy time. So you can claim your independence even with your parents nearby, especially if you're still living in campus housing. Also, there's a chance you can do laundry for free!

    Sorry, this is long but I wanted to include a few different perspectives, especially from your parents' end. I think another aspect you might want to highlight in a discussion with your parents is that you don't want to feel like you're responsible for a big family cross-country move if it's not absolutely what they want. For all you know, it could be that your going to college is somewhat of an excuse for them making a move they wanted to make anyway, and it happened, conveniently, that you're applying to colleges in an area where they'd like to live.

    As for your "why" question, I'd probably try to frame it by saying that you consider college to be a global learning experience--it's a time when you want to learn to live on your own and take responsibility for your everyday well-being. However, since there is no universal "college experience", I would make sure to say that these are your personal feelings. It's not just what everyone else does and says. But I'd also express gratitude for the help that they're willing to provide, because honestly it's just incredible that they'd be willing to change locations and even jobs and everything just to try to help you out.
  • nvb123nvb123 Registered User Posts: 151 Junior Member
    @happy1 So we have discussed this in the presence of my friends' parents and every single parent sides with me (so do the kids) but my parents just tell me that those people think they're being overprotective. They tell me that this isn't being overprotective, it's just them trying to help me. I really don't think they're trying to be overprotective, but they don't understand how their moving might affect my college experience. And the second part of what you said, I honestly would set those rules, but I personally wouldn't be able to follow them if they live near me. That's why I want to tell them that moving away is important! I just don't know how to show that moving far away is beneficial with solid evidence.
  • aunt beaaunt bea Registered User Posts: 9,572 Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    What happens when THEY have issues? Are they going to be calling you because: they need you to wait for the repairmen? Are they going to be asking you what you want for dinner?

    You need to tell them that people will not go out of their way to make friends with you if you are constantly with Mom and Dad; you may be unintentionally ostracized. For the first couple of months, it will be hard for them to keep contacting you because you will be busy with transitions. They cannot get into your dorm building without a security pass.

    I suggest you buy a separate cell phone.

    My daughter's classmate has a similar problem, and she has never been fully "independent" without Mom and Dad being "available" (interfering). "Shriya" has had to drag herself home for every birthday and Indian holiday and failed multiple classes from the stress and issues of her needy parents. As a consequence, she finally graduated 1 ½ years after her classmates. She had to change majors, and was trying to get into grad school, but hasn't been able to get in anywhere.

    Her parents still don't get it, and appear to be really juvenile in their way of thinking. Now, they are on her case because she isn't in grad school and has, what they call, "a menial job".
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