University can be the perfect escape for young adults with overbearing and controlling parents. Everybody knows the type of parents I am talking about, the parents that smother their child, that won’t let their child leave the house unless they know where they are going, who they are going with, and what time they will be home. University often throws a huge spanner in the works for such parents as they inevitably must surrender some of their control as their child must learn to be independent and stand on their own two feet. But from the perspective of the child, it can be hard to stand up to controlling parents, especially if they have been ruled by their parents’ authority their whole lives. So below are a few helpful pointers of how to deal with controlling parents while away at University.
1. Communication is key.
Controlling parents like to be kept up to date with EVERYTHING and this will only get worse when you go to University as they won’t be able to physically see you to keep tabs on you. So as to keep the peace, arrange to have a phone call, a FaceTime, or Skype chat with them every few days to start off with. Then, slowly decrease the number of phone calls to once a week to allow your parents to adjust to you not being there. It is also so easy to send them a short message with a daily update just so they feel like they still have some element of control over your life and like they are in the know.
2. Make them feel needed.
You know for a fact that your house will be dramatically altered when you move out for University, you can picture your parents staring at each other and lost for words as they don’t have you there to constantly be checking up on. Even if it isn’t the case, act as if you still need your parents whilst you are at University to create the illusion that you are still dependent on them and that they have power over you to a degree. This could be anything from financial support, to advice, or even tips on how best to wash your clothes!
3. Put your foot down. Break out of old patterns.
The key to moving away from home to go to University is so that you can learn to survive on your own and make the transition into an independent and self-sufficient adult. You will inevitably grow as a person and develop your own thoughts and feelings contrary to your parents. Don’t constantly think of what your parents would do in every situation, or feel the need to let them know what you are doing 24 hours of the day. Instead, (and I am not encouraging you to turn into a full-blown rebel) discover what interests you as a person and develop your own views even if you know your parents won’t approve. This can be in terms of sexuality, religion, politics- anything! You need to put yourself first and not your parents. At the same time, reassure your parents that you do RESPECT the way you were raised and their values, and that they need to respect yours too. This is one really important tip on how to deal with controlling parents!
4. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
A bit of secrecy is key. Again I am not trying to be a bad influence and encourage you down a deviant road of deception, but as a University student, you need to take responsibility for the small problems. For example, if you don’t particularly get on with your roommate, by all means let your parents know, but firmly reassure them that you are a mature adult and that you can take care of the situation. Once you do this, your parents will trust you to take on more and more responsibility. Never ever allow your parents to contact your University personally or your lecturers, personal advisors etc. This will not help your case in trying to be an individual at University who doesn’t need mummy and daddy to hold their hand! This is not only good advice on how to deal with controlling parents, but just good advice for life in general!
5. Prepare your parents.
It can come as a huge shock when parents are reunited with their children after a few months apart at University. Controlling and dominating parents like to think that their children will stay the same and that they know their child inside and out. Because you are exposed to so many new things and different people at University, it is inevitable that you will change in a short period of time, even if you are unconscious of it yourself. Before you make a visit home, warn your parents if there is something glaringly obvious that has changed in your life, for example if you have made a change in terms of your sexuality, or if you have converted to vegetarianism. This way they cannot overreact too much if they feel like they have been kept in the loop all along. This is really helpful when it comes to how to deal with controlling parents!
6. Be selective over social media.
In today’s social media savvy world, in all likelihood you are friends with your parents on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. For your parents, these social networks act as another form of control to monitor you more closely. But be selective with what you post and what you allow your friends to post about you. Also be selective about what your parents can see- especially the things you don’t want them finding out about. Maybe make your accounts private and unfriend your parents- explain your reasons for doing so but assure them you will still send them some pictures and keep them updated to a degree. They need to respect your desire for privacy.
Do you have any other tips on how to deal with controlling parents? Let us know in the comments below!
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My name is Nicole Brownfield and I am 20 years old. I am studying English Literature and going into my 3rd and final year of Queen Mary University, London in September. I am currently the Editor-In-chief of my University magazine 'CUB' and my dream is to pursue a career in journalism after I graduate. I love living in London and am obsessed with sourcing out food and drink places, as well as exploring the parts of London I have never been to before. My boyfriend and I have recently turned pescatarian and this symbolises my goal to constantly keep bettering myself and to stay healthy and disciplined. Every day I try and achieve something as I want to look back and be proud of the life I have lived, and to make my family proud too.