Parent's weekend - kid may not spend much time with us

<p>My son is a freshman, and he has indicated he doesn't want us to come for family weekend. He is being recognized for a scholarship, and we haven't seen him for 2 months, so we are going. I'm sure I will be disappointed if we drive 6 hours each way and he doesn't spend much time with us, but I am going to try not to be "angry" at him. I do think he will go to a meal or two with us, and I'm hopeful he will be happy on some level that we came. Do experienced college parents have any words of wisdom?</p>

<p>As long as you go without any expectations, you should be OK. View it as a mini-vacation where you get to see your son for a little bit, rather than a trip to see your son. There should be plenty of activities to keep you busy, and you can use the time to explore the area and get to know the campus. You may regret it if you don’t go to see him receive the scholarship, even if you don’t get to see much of him otherwise. He may also find that he is sorry he told you not to come, once all of his friends parents show up. Hopefully he can fit in a dinner or a breakfast. Maybe if you include one of his “orphan” friends for dinner, he will be more excited. As much as we hate to admit it, our freshman students are still a bit self-centered at times and don’t understand how important it is for us to see such events. He will grow out of it and will be excited to see you in a couple of years.</p>

<p>Well, it is easy to understand why he is acting this way. From the parental perspective, it has been two long months since you have seen him. From a freshman perspective, he would think ‘it’s only been 2 months since I have seen them!’</p>

<p>My thoughts are to be grateful for a few meals together and be thrilled that he is enjoying college so much that he has lots of other things to do.</p>

<p>Yes to the idea of thinking of it as a mini-vacation where you will see your kiddo a few times. Enjoy the time you do have together, that’s the way to have a good parent’s weekend.</p>

<p>My kids’ schools wisely planned several parents-only activities - someone must have realized that new freshmen wouldn’t want to spend every minute attached to mom and dad after two months of independence. :slight_smile: 1214mom, if you look around as you walk across campus, I’ll bet you’ll see many sets of parents sans kids, except at mealtimes. </p>

<p>The fun of family weekend isn’t only in visiting our kids - it’s in poking around campus, seeing where the good coffee shops and little stores are, absorbing the campus atmosphere, etc. The college presidents always had assemblies and then informal meet-and-greets; and there were lectures just for parents by some faculty stars. All of these were fun with nary a kid in sight.</p>

<p>Then there are the family groups that spend almost no time in planned activities and just take the kid where he/she wants to go. There’s no wrong way to do it. Have a great time and congrats to your son on that scholarship!</p>

<p>I’m glad you want to go. I’ve had friends who after taking the kids to visit so they can compile their college list, going again for the interview and show of interest, returning for accepted students weekend to decide whether to go or not, going back again for orientation, and then dropping the kid off for the semester, ripping up the Parent’s weekend card when it arrives. </p>

<p>When I went off to college, the first time I set foot on the campus was when I arrived for move in and my parents didn’t even come (that last part was an anomaly). My kid last year also came home once during the first month of school for a major footbal game and some other happening, so it wasn’t like he was really that missed. I felt we could have held out until Thanksgivng to see him, rather than going to Parent’s Weekend, but we went anyways, to the tune of several hundred dollars, costing that little only because we have friends in the area with whom we stayed. For us a two day trip,driving 7 hours each way costs us close to $500 in gas , tolls , meals, activities, etc, and of course taking out our friends for hosting us.</p>

<p>As long as the kid is happy, we the parents should be happy. So, a few minutes together is good enough, at least he knows that you support him that much (12 hours for 15 minutes).</p>

<p>Thanks everyone. I already told my husband we just had to think of this as a weekend away. I’m hoping it’s a little like high school activities… They say they don’t want you there but are actually happy you show up. Of course I won’t hear that until he’s about 30.</p>

<p>A lot of college freshmen are still in the mode of “parents are the enemy” and are still in the high school mode of thinking that it is embarrassing to be seen with parents, much less enjoying it. Most kids relax once they see everyone else’s parents are coming too.</p>

<p>The one thing I have learned over time is to keep the tone light and to bite back the criticism. Some students are still tentative about sharing their new lives and want just small doses of parents (meals, a shopping trip or two)…it’s hard, but by not insisting on wanting to spend all my time with my student I actually seem to get more quality time. I just make myself remember that they are still so tentative in all their new relationships…they are still afraid to turn down a chance to go out with friends or skip a meeting or a practice or a game–and they are not yet confident enough to bring their parents along. It does get better though–my youngest son now makes a point of sending us the schedules of his various club and intramural sports teams so that we can plan to come in when he is playing, and he doesn’t mind our cheering for him on the sidelines any more.</p>

<p>They loosen up a bit when I make fewer demands. I also refrain from any comments on the state of the room/bed/desk/closet. It’s not my home, and really? it’s just not that important.</p>

<p>However, I have been known to offer if there is anything that my son would like me to do for him. It turned out that he had some clothes he did not quite know how to wash–a couple of sweaters and a pair of corduroy pants–and he did not want to ask a friend because he was afraid they didn’t really know either. So there was a quick and friendly laundry lesson–and we got in a couple of other loads as well (with no comments from me on how yucky/moldy it was) and a nice relaxed chat while we did this–and he loved having me remake his bed for him, because it makes his bed feel like “home.”</p>

<p>It does get better over time!</p>

<p>It’s nice if it’s a destination. Don’t worry; soon, he and his friends will bestow their presence for a nice meal.</p>

<p>We went when our first kiddo was a freshman. Luckily it was close and we had relatives to stay with and visit…and the location was fun. Out kid really WAS busy most of the weekend…playing in the pit orchestra for four performances. We saw the kiddo for a couple of meals. </p>

<p>We never attended another Parents weekend. We found that there were other, less busy times when we could actually see our kiddo and friends.</p>

<p>If my kid asked me not to come I would respect their wishes. I haven’t been in that situation, I’m sure it would disappoint me, but I see it as their territory. Personally, I much prefer visiting at non-programmed times. Maybe there might be another time that would be better for your son?</p>

<p>My sons college only had parents weekend the freshman year. I did not care how little time I spent with him, I was glad to be there. Even now, many
Years later, I still plan a trip. If I see him for a meal each day, meet his roommates or close friends (quite happy to treat for a meal), see his lab, I am content. </p>

<p>It’s much harder doing this as a single parent. I am touring on my own. Still, I walk around campus and the surrounding area. I leave with a frame of reference.</p>

<p>My parents did things differently. Visiting yearly works for me. It’s an individual choice.</p>

<p>You have no idea how much I feel your pain!</p>

<p>We just went to parents weekend, spent a little time with the son, and after the third meal with us, I think he had completely had it. More than he could stand. We traveled 2500 miles for this. But I’d travel that far for just one hug from my son, no matter how reluctant it might be.</p>

<p>Consider thinking of this as a weekend to go learn about your son’s school, a nice weekend trip, and maybe a meal or two with him. Present it to him this way. You know he will be busy, but you’d really like to come and attend the parent’s activities. It would be great if he can go to lunch or dinner with you at a time that works for him. Take the pressure off him, and he will probably be more comfortable with you coming. Don’t be angry, this is just the way some kids are…and it’s far better than him being homesick and clingy. Maybe he just wants more independence. And if he isn’t pressured to spend a lot of time with you, he will end up happy you came. But I would make sure that he isn’t enraged with you coming, but realizes that you just want to participate and check his school out. Many schools have all sorts of interesting activities for the parents.</p>


If he truly doesn’t want you to go then I think you shouldn’t go. However, I think it warrants some discussion to find out the details of the request for you not to come. He may be picturing you hanging around with him the entire weekend which he might consider jacking his style or he might simply not have a lot of free time and think it’d be awkward.</p>

<p>If he ‘doesn’t want you to come’ out of concern on his part that it wouldn’t be worth your effort since he’ll be pretty busy, then you can just cheerfully explain to him that it’s really no bother and you’d enjoy it anyway so you plan to come and you’ll manage to keep yourselves busy ala the little vacation/excursion idea. Remind him he’ll get a free decent meal or two out of it.</p>

<p>If he ‘doesn’t want you to come’ because he’s really busy that weekend and it would be a bother to ‘him’ if you come, then try to arrange a different weekend for your visit. There’s nothing magical about ‘parent’s weekend’ IMO (probably depends on the college) and I’ve found it better to avoid the crowded zoo of the parent’s weekend and visit a weekend before or after. Things are much less hectic/crowded and that’s when you can work around his schedule a bit and perhaps spend more time with him.</p>

<p>At the end of the day, I think ‘he’ should have the final decision on this but hopefully you’ll be able to work out a good visiting time whether it’s on the parent’s weekend or a different one or if that doesn’t work out, he’ll be able to provide good reasons why he doesn’t think it’d be a good idea on that weekend.</p>

<p>My older one told us not to come because he was too busy. He meant it. Was taking three p-set classes, dating someone, doing a time-consuming EC. My DH was traveling for his job at the time and my younger one was just starting hs and attending would have been a significant plane flight. So I passed.</p>

<p>Just attended our younger one’s Parent Weekend. She was very good about carving out time with us. She and her roommates arranged for all their parents to have brunch with them. It was lovely. And I enjoyed seeing my DD. But what I really appreciated most was attending the various presentations on aspects of the academics, study abroad and general culture of the school. I do wish I’d done that with my older one. I’d have understood his college context better, I think.</p>

<p>We never disobeyed our kids’ orders. If a kid says, do not come, we do not come. Here is my “experienced college parent words of wisdom” with 2 of them.</p>

<p>You say that your student has “indicated” that he does not want you to come. But he is geting an award and you want to go. Ask him point blank how he would feel about you coming and if it really is a problem with him. If he really absolutely would prefer you not come, then my advice is “don’t”. If it’s a matter of him having little time for you, but he’s fine that you come for the award and maybe just grab an hour or so of time, and you don’t make him feel guilty about that lack of time with him, then it’s fine that you go understanding those conditions and find some other things to do. It’s a good time to explore his community and what is available there in terms of such essentials as medical care to such whimsies as a great bakery where you can order a birthday cake for him some day while he’s at school, or other such thing. Kids, and really all of us tend to cast a blind eye to things in our surroundings so they may not know that there is great inexpensive place to get a pair of glasses, or a pair of shoes, or whatever else You can do some exploring and make a list of what is there. With the internet, some of that can be done at home on the computer but nothing beats seeing it with your own two eyes. Nice time to pick up some gift cards to tuck in a wallet that makes a great Christmas gift for college students. I’ve done that with mine. Keep any disappointments and “rathers” to yourself and take what he can give you in terms of time. </p>

<p>But if he really wants some time away from home folks for whatever reason, I 'd stay away. Give him his space. There will likely be plenty of other opportunities. Why drive 12 hours round trip to make your son unhappy and you are likely to be the same if you are not welcome. Missing an award ceremony is no big deal. There are a quite a few I would have cheerfuly missed and attended solely because it was something expected of me to do as a parent of a kid. Once they are adults they can call some of these shots on their own things. He may not be showing up for his own ceremony.</p>

<p>I agree with the above. Ask him why e doesnt want you to come. if he is too busy then plan another time. I think it is different for me as I have daughters. I am wondering if boys are different???
I do think that kids need to gently learn that it isnt all about them. I am going to see my D, but I know she is busy with school so I limited the time I am there and anticipate doing things on my own. actually she asked me to come, so how could I refuse. But she is a senior now so there is hope…</p>

<p>I agree, if he doesn’t want you to come, don’t. Is it really worth the 12 hours round trip to take him out for dinner? In our experience, Parent’s weekend is kind of a bust. Sure, there are things to do but honestly, they just are not that much fun :D.</p>

<p>Now, if he is going to school in a great vacation spot, plan a vacation that includes taking your DS out for dinner but don’t make “parent’s weekend” the focus of the trip. I would then suggest doing your visit on another weekend because getting hotels, etc. is a lot easier, and less expensive then.</p>