The Things You Should--and Shouldn't--Tell Your Parents in College

Kansas State '17

Whether you decided to go to college 15 minutes or 15 hours from home, your relationship with your parents is going to change. So sometimes it can be hard to decipher what you should and should not tell your parental units. You don't want them to worry about you, but you also want them to know that you are becoming an adult at the same time. So here are a few guidelines I mapped out through my own personal experience to make your relationship with your parents float smoothly through college's rocky waters.

Do not tell them about anything that happens after midnight.
You can tell them that you went out with your friends to a party or that you were up late studying, but do not tell them about your one-night stand regret or that you stumbled home without your shoes on. Do not tell them that you were up until 3 a.m. watching YouTube videos of puppies sneezing when you were supposed to be studying for your 8 a.m. test. This will raise more questions than anything. Save your bad 2 a.m. choices for your friends or Twitter.

Do not tell them about people who don't matter.
In college you will meet so many people, but the odds of all of those people staying in your life forever is pretty low. This is college. Relationships (especially romantic ones) tend to have a more serious weight in the eyes of parents than they do to you. Only tell your parents about a boyfriend or girlfriend if you have been with them for a few months or are planning on being serious from the start. Because trust me, once your parents get wind of your relationship, the questions do not stop. Ever.

Tell them about the life lessons.
At some point during your college experience you will realize that your parents were right, whether it's about scrubbing dirty dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, always locking your car door, or parallel parking successfully. There will be times when you hear your parents nagging (yet loving) voice in your head telling you to do exactly what you are doing. And in that moment you'll realize that they were right, doing these small tasks that were drilled into you at a young age now make your adult life so much easier. It's difficult, but tell them they were right and that you appreciate them for making you do things like making your bed every morning.

Tell them about the hard days.
Of course you want your parents to think that you are a tough, well rounded, and stable adult. But if you're in college you know that there is nothing further from the truth. Calling your mom or dad when you have a bad day doesn't make them think you are weak or incapable. It gives your parents a sense of purpose and security that you still need and want them.

Tell them you love them and thank them.
You saw this one coming. Too often we as college students forget to tell the two people who spawned us, raised us, gave us tuition and food, that we love them. College can be hectic, but don't forget to make time to thank and send love to the two people who made your life possible. Because before you know it, you'll be graduated and living in a big city with a real adult job and you won't get to see them as much. Tell them "I love you" as much as you can, while you can.