How to maintain a happy parent-child relationship

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Julianna Nunez, Editor in Chief, Summer Daily Northwestern

College will most likely be your first time living away from your parents for an extended period of time. While you may feel like you are ready to take on the world, and you may very well be, it takes our parents a little longer to realize that. When you first move to college, you may feel like your parents may be overstepping their boundaries and are not giving you enough room to be an independent adult. Well, there are two reasons for this. One, you are still their precious, little darling who can do no wrong. Sorry, but that’s just the way many parents’ brains are wired. The second reason is that you decided to go to a very expensive college and chances are you are not paying for most of your expenses, so of course your parents feel like they should have a say in everything you do. Never fear, though. I have compiled a list of helpful tips that will ensure a happy parent-child relationship throughout college.

Students: Set up a schedule to talk.
Freshmen, during your first few months in college, most of your parents are going to want to know everything, and I mean everything. They will want to know if you’re eating properly, if you’re bathng regularly, if the other college students are being nice to you and so on. This is all well and good, as long as your parents are not trying to call you in the middle of your history midterm. It is important to inform your parents about your class schedule. This way, you can figure out the best time to talk without any interruptions.

Parents: Let your children fight their own battles.
It only took a few phone calls for a parent to resolve everything troubling their child’s life. Having problems at school? Talk to the principal of course. Child is sick? Take them to the doctor. This is what good parents do: you can’t help it. However, college is the point where students need to begin fighting their own battles. I’ve had a few academic problems in the past two years. Of course I would tell my parents about my problems, but all they could do was listen. At the end of the day, it was my responsibility to go to the professor or teaching assistant to figure out my own problems. Administrators are willing to work with parents and students regarding financial aid, but for the most part, students are on their own. Parents, feel free to give advice, but your children must take action themselves.

Students: The world is not free reign.
Freshmen, you’re finally free from your parents and you got yourself a nice little room on campus. You can have toast for every meal of the day and no one can say anything. However, there are still rules that need to be obeyed. It’s scary to be suddenly responsible for all of your actions, but this is a process that needs to be done. As such, I would familiarize yourself with the local laws in Evanston and Chicago. Laws can change city to city so know the laws when you are outside of campus. We would hate to publish a police blotter that involves a NU students breaking the law.

Parents and students: Make nice with each other.
This one seems obvious, but chances are, you will be hundreds of miles away from each other and so you may not feel the need to resolve conflicts immediately. It’s easy to hold a grudge when you do not have to see that person every day. However, nothing is worse than going through colllege or work knowing that someone you love is mad at you. As such, it is important to handle conflicts and not angrily hang up the phone. The best tip I can give is to Skype one another. Phone calls and texts can be very cold and can be misread very easily. Skype or other video services will allow you to handle any conflict upfront.