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How Your Relationship With Your Parents Changes After You Leave For College

Maybe you keep your promise to call every day. Maybe your parents live thirty minutes away. Maybe they follow you on Twitter or like all of your Facebook posts. Even with these forms of communication, there’s no denying that your relationship with your parents will change now that you’re not living with them anymore. 

Your life is no longer your parents’

So far, when your parents have said “Jump”, you said “How high?” but now that you’re living under a different roof, most of their decisions don’t affect you so much. They go on vacation? Have fun! Move to a different city? Good luck in the new place! Keep in mind that while you’re learning to live on your own, your parents are learning how to live in an empty nest. It’s a lot of change for all of you.

Your parents being “parental” will be even less appreciated

You juggle all-nighters, e-board positions, stellar internships and a crazy social life, so why does your mom nag you about sending thank you cards for your birthday? Be patient. She’s just trying to reorient herself in your life, since she and Dad are no longer the first people to whom you turn to for direction. They’re scared.

As you deal with every milestone – going to college, moving into your first apartment, meeting “the one”, getting married, having children – your parents will have to relearn you and find ways to relate to you on each new level. Make sure they know that you love and appreciate them when gently explaining your boundaries.

You’re all only human

For a long time, your parents have seen you as an extension of themselves. You’re someone to look after and watch out for. Now that you’re in a space to grow up away from them, they will really have a chance to see you as your own person. In return, you will start seeing them as the flawed human beings they are. They have hobbies, dreams, likes, dislikes, concerns, fears and worries, just like you do. Dad isn’t your superhero, and that’s okay.

You will redefine “home”

That first moment when you say “I’m going home” and you mean “back to my dorm” will feel like an out-of-body experience. Home is where your parents are, right? This is when you’ll realize that  “home” can be a location and a feeling. Yes, your physical home is that dorm room you spend nine months of the year in. But the old saying, “home is where the heart is” is very true, and you’ll find that your heart belongs with family during breaks and over the summer.

How has your relationship with your parents changed?  Leave a comment below!

Hanna is a sophomore, majoring in film production at Emerson College. Some of her interests outside of film include poetry, manga, and art museums.
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