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How to let parents know it's time to let go

perfectionist27perfectionist27 47 replies16 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 63 Junior Member
My parents are usually seen as overprotective, and I know they come across this way because they are very caring. The problem is that they seem to have trouble loosening their grip over me.

My parents are the type of people who are reluctant to let me go to the mall/movies with friends, to people's homes, to my volunteer position at a retirement home, or even to my job. They distrust everyone, which I completely understand. I understand that although I am 18, I am by no means an experienced adult; I am in many ways still a child.

But in a few months, I'll be in college and there will be times where I will need to walk alone at night or go to a volunteer event where there is no "adult" supervision. I can't call my parents everytime I need to go somewhere and ask for their permission to do so.

I'm very close to my parents, and I don't want them to worry. But at the same time, I feel obligated to obtain their permission for every aspect of my life. I don't think I can continue like this in college. How can I approach them in a non-accusatory way to let them know that I need to start my independence? As they always say: they trust me, but it's other people they can't trust. To them, I'm still their little girl and they just can't seem to loosen their control.
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Replies to: How to let parents know it's time to let go

  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 83923 replies1003 discussionsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,926 Forum Champion
    edited May 2014
    <<<<
    But in a few months, I'll be in college and there will be times where I will need to walk alone at night or go to a volunteer event where there is no "adult" supervision. I can't call my parents everytime I need to go somewhere and ask for their permission to do so.
    >>>>


    oh good heavens. when you are at college, do they expect you to ask permission to go to things???

    will you be living on campus? or at home?

    are your parents foreign?

    >>>>
    How can I approach them in a non-accusatory way to let them know that I need to start my independence?
    <<<<

    If you will be living on campus, then dont even bring it up. dont get them thinking that you'll be out and about while away.
    edited May 2014
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  • perfectionist27perfectionist27 47 replies16 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 63 Junior Member
    I will be living on campus, 4 hours away from home. Both my parents are immigrants, and my dad has told me before: "We are Afghans, we aren't like other families. We won't allow this kind of behavior" and things along those lines.

    It's just really frustrating because everything reasonable I try to say is offensive to them. I tried talking to my mom and she got angry and told me to do whatever I want and to go out drinking every night for all she cares.

    I feel like there is no middle-ground. Either I agree with my parents or not. I can either be completely obedient or someone who is careless and goes out "partying" all the time.

    I'm starting to think that I just won't be telling them about my daily activities which is unfortunate, because I feel like their overprotectiveness is going to make me become more distant from my parents.
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  • JoBennyJoBenny 761 replies16 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 777 Member
    Tho' not to the extent you describe, I definitely slant toward overprotective. Agree with above, if you are living on campus, limit the discussion to agreed-upon phone call check-in frequency and, depending on how close you live to school, what the expectation will be for visits home. My mantra throughout this whole past year was "He's fine......he's in his dorm room studying." I know full well that was probably accurate about 35% of the time......which is exactly how it should be........but the visualization certainly helped on my end. Do your part - call when you say you're going to call. Answer texts in a reasonable amount of time. But in general, it's not your job to make sure your parents know and approve of every move/decision you make when you're in college.
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  • thumper1thumper1 73274 replies3187 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,461 Senior Member
    When you are in college, Why would you call them everytime you need to go to work, walk across your campus, or whatever? I loved hearing from my kids, but if they had called me every time they planned to walk someplace,they would have been calling every hour or so.

    I think you will have the opportunity to be more independent when you are at college.
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  • LizardlyLizardly 2486 replies11 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,497 Senior Member
    Get through this summer and then it will be easier.

    Right now you are pulling away and your folks are pulling you back. Once you are away at college they won't have as much control over your day to day life. Yes, do call and text and give them updates about what you are doing, but you don't have to share everything.
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  • fauvefauve 3499 replies26 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,525 Senior Member
    Your parents are probably terrified that you are leaving and they can't control your movement. Don't try to change them now, it will be hopeless. But look towards fall and know you will have the freedom of American college students- which is really total freedom.

    Help your parents adjust to this new situation by calling or textng them to let them know you are safe. On campus, attend any safety presentations given to freshmen. Learn about the security systems--blue light phones on campus, locking dorm rooms, safe routes in town.

    Avoid over-drinking if you choose to imbibe. The largest risks to freshmen women are out of control , drunk males, so stay in groups of other women at such gatherings, or better yet, avoid the parties altogether or until you are 21.
    There are plenty of positive, engaging activities on campus which do not include alcohol. Seek those out and you will find friends to share meaningful experiences.
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 83923 replies1003 discussionsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,926 Forum Champion
    edited May 2014
    Get thru the summer w/o much drama. dont talk about stuff that will upset them.

    >>>>
    I'm starting to think that I just won't be telling them about my daily activities which is unfortunate, because I feel like their overprotectiveness is going to make me become more distant from my parents.
    <<<


    frankly....that is best....and that is NORMAL

    college students arent supposed to be telling their parents about their daily activities. Let them think you are studying all the time. Keep your grades up and keep your mouth shut with them.

    I can tell you this...

    If your parents are told what you are doing and they dont like it....guess what? they will pull the plug on paying and you'll be stuck at home.


    edited May 2014
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 36,935 Senior Member
    Try not to get in the habit of calling them every day at college. If they really want to hear from you, every 2-3 days. And try to call when you are walking to class or during the day -- do NOT commit to calling when you get home at night (or they will really cramp your style), and be purposely vague about any plans you think they won't like. Don't give them the chance to run your life at school.
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  • Jea828Jea828 256 replies28 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 284 Junior Member
    edited May 2014
    Your parents are never going to stop worrying about you. All parents worry about their kids (some to a greater degree than others), and nothing you can say will make them stop. That said, you can alleviate some of their worry by calling them on a regular basis. I know that's what you're trying to avoid, but think of it this way. The less they hear from you, the more they're going to worry. They'll imagine that you're hurt or in trouble or doing something wrong. That's what us silly parents do. So why not call them when you're walking across campus? Not to ask their permission, but just to check in and have a brief chat while you're walking to class or taking a study break. You don't need to tell them every detail of your life, but if you give them a few highlights and volunteer some "safe" information, it will help them feel connected and reassure them that all is okay. Once you're at college, your parents will have no idea what you are doing - and they don't need to know everything. But if they feel you're being open and communicative, they (hopefully) won't feel as much need to control and "check up" on you.
    edited May 2014
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 83923 replies1003 discussionsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,926 Forum Champion
    edited May 2014
    If they insist on regular contact, try to use texting and have some ready-made statements: on my way to lab, studying for a test, doing homework, going to dining hall for lunch, etc.

    if your parents are the type to stalk your facebook, create another one for you to use with college pals....and hide it to friends only.
    edited May 2014
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  • compmomcompmom 10599 replies76 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10,675 Senior Member
    Your parents are immigrants and Afghans as well. There are cultural factors at work here. Many children of immigrants have these issues with their parents, and your parents' culture is very protective of females. Is there a chance that talking together with a counselor or respected person, who is skilled and knowledgeable about adjustment issues for immigrants, might help you and your parents as you head off to college? I understand that you want to keep a close relationship with your parents and avoid upsetting or worrying them, while you also want to be excited and enjoy "normal" (American) college life. This naturally poses contradictions that may be hard to resolve and I hope there is an outside person who might help you- and your parents.
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 36,935 Senior Member
    You have gotten over the biggest hurdle, which is them allowing you to apply to colleges a few hours away and live on campus. I would keep my head down and be the "best kid" I could be this summer (seriously) so you don't jeopardize that freedom. There are plenty of young women who post out here whose parents won't even allow them to do that.
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  • T26E4T26E4 23243 replies1031 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 24,274 Senior Member
    I don't want to make assumptions but do you live in a community with other Afghanis who have assimilated to America for a longer period? If you are muslim, does your mosque have families from many countries? The ones in my community are extremely diverse. Are there families who have successfully sent daughters to college? Are there teachers/leaders in your community/mosque who can understand both yours and your parents situation and speak to calm and assure them?

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  • HuntHunt 26787 replies131 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 26,918 Senior Member
    I think you should try not to talk about this issue much while you are still home--it really won't help. When you get to college, call them often, but don't talk about things you are planning to do, but rather about things that have already happened. Talk about your classes, and how interesting they are. Tell them about the paper you just got back with a good grade. Etc.
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  • billcshobillcsho 18315 replies91 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 18,406 Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    I think both the kid and the parents are responsible. The kid needs to earn the trust from parents and the parents need to let go at some point. My nephew is junior in college and my brother still flies in to help him to move in and move out. My neighbor is even worse. She is basically reading all the e-mails from schools and responds in her son's name. Since the first day I went to college (actually before that) 30+ years ago, I was all on my own. I only needed my mom to help with financial aid application. For my D, I did coach her in the college application process. I think it is critical to find a list of right schools and they need to be affordable too. Once the deposit is paid and the financial arrangement is settled, I think my job is done.
    edited May 2014
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