12 Judgments Parents Need To Stop Dropping On Their College-Aged Kids

12 Judgments Parents Need To Stop Dropping On Their College-Aged Kids

It's embarrassing that college-aged kids feel this way.
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As a college student, it's likely that at least one, or both, of your parents have been bombarding you with various pieces of advice, such as to have a great college experience, to not go out, drink or have sex.

However, at some point, it gets past the line of appropriateness and needs to be addressed. Yes, parents are supposed to care, and they show that they do, but they're holding their college-aged kids back. The way they hold their college-aged kids back is with their words so the kid doesn't really know how to respond, leaving him or her even more confused and with a lot of self-doubt and negative self-image.

1. "Be nice."

As college students, you know the importance of being nice towards others, but you also know that if you're too nice, you'll be more prone to being taken advantage of. Parents, by repeatedly telling your college-aged kids to 'be nice', you're encouraging that they allow themselves to be taken advantage of time and time again, and you're one of them who is taking advantage of your child. You may still not understand why they're often down on themselves, but this is exactly why.

2. "You look better (insert fashion statement/style here)."

College students are hardest on themselves when it comes to looks. It's not on you to tell your college-aged kid on how to dress for class, or how to dress for a date or a big-time school function. Yes, it's somewhat of a 'fashion show' when it comes to going out on the town or at the bar/club, but how you style yourself isn't everything. College students know how to dress for the occasion, and it's their body so they choose what they want to do with it, not you. They don't 'belong' to you just because they are your children.

3. "You need to find a boyfriend/girlfriend."

No, they do not. College is for education, and your parents were part of the reason they got there. Keep on encouraging them to maximize their experience, but don't force them to find one. That's what makes them desperate/needy/clingy, a major turnoff for almost every college guy or girl out there. That's partly why you hear a lot of people say "I'm not looking for a relationship right now" and why people choose to be single for awhile in college. It's okay to not have a boyfriend/girlfriend that you bring home for Christmas as well, since not everybody does. College isn't solely about dating, and it hits home with me since I've been there, done that.

4. "You should come home more often."

Again, your children are not your property just because they are your children. You can look after and care about them all you want, but you can't just smother them by wanting to have them around. Most college students are grown-up enough to live on their own and are able to thrive better when their parents aren't influencing their every move.

5. "Don't get too involved at school."

This completely takes away from the student maximizing their experience at college. College is all about stepping OUT of your comfort zone, so to do that, you have to TRY new things. Whether it's joining a sorority/fraternity or just the club that pertains to your major, you have to find a way to do something other than just your academics. Yes, they're the integral foundation for your success, but they have to do more than that. They need to add substance/flavor to their college experience. That's how people stand out for their future. They're able to build experiences that those who just focus on their academics don't have.

6. "You need to get in shape."

This somewhat ties in with the concept of getting a girlfriend/boyfriend since being in shape makes you 'look' more attractive. But the fact of the matter is, parents, you are shaming your kids for their current body because they're not exactly 'well-built,' or if they don't have a 'hot' body. People are more than just their bodies, and they already are stressed out about that. Don't pour any more salt in the wound.

7. "Get a single-room apartment."

Some parents want their college-aged kid to have their own place because they want to visit him or her more. It's understandable if he/she gets one just because they prefer it, but parents, don't take advantage of their time/location just because you want to be there. It negatively affects their mood and they already feel more down about themselves because there weren't a whole lot of people who wanted to live with them.

8. "Be quiet."

Saying this in any form, even if it's not the exact words, is unacceptable. It's a method to silence your child when they have something to say, and it shows them how their opinions aren't accepted, or that they aren't welcomed/included. It also brings shame unto your child. Do you want your child to feel shameful?

9. "Don't get angry too easily."

This is also just as bad as the previous one, since it essentials renders your kid's feelings as useless/unworthy. When your college-aged kid tells you he's had some slip-ups and is trying to get better. don't snap on him/her because he/she isn't where he/she wants to be. As a matter of fact, YOU are the reason he/she gets angry when you do that. It's additionally unacceptable too because it's unfair how you can get angry at your kid yet he/she isn't allowed to be upset too?

He/She sees that you're frustrated with him/her and (he/she)'s now upset because he/she picked up that you don't like it. He/She doesn't like it either, but (he/she)'s trying to learn and get better from it. It's unhealthy because it impacts his/her ability to have healthy relationships, especially with you.

10. "Stop that."

Just telling someone to stop what they're doing when they're in a negative state and while you're with them isn't going to make things better. Parents, you need to STEP IN when your college-aged child is in this position. Telling them to stop won't calm them down. In fact, it will do just the opposite. Be part of the solution, not the problem.

11. "Ask us first."

Most of the time it's a great idea to consult with family, especially when you're a college-aged kid. But college-aged kids need to learn how to make big-time decisions for themselves.

12. "Be happy."

I understand the intent behind this, but especially if your college-aged kid is unhappy, telling him/her to 'be happy' will not do the trick. Refer to 10. Some parents still don't understand how this disables them from being able to express their feelings and emotions, and they NEED to do that to be healthy AND happy. By telling them to be happy, you're essentially telling them to hide every other thing that happens in their life and encouraging them to build their walls even higher instead of breaking them down. You will never see the real personality of your college-aged kid by doing this. Instead, you're going to see someone who is only a shell of what he or she really is, and that shell is nothing like the beautiful little girl or boy you had when he/she was younger.

* * *

Parents, when you realize that these phrases you say to your college-aged kids aren't having the impact you want them to have, and you make the necessary adjustments, you will instantly see how much happier your kid is when you don't control his or her feelings, and you don't tell them how to feel. By doing that, you'll show that you're more appreciative and caring than these phrases show you to be. By saying something different, you're eliminating the shame from your child, you're promoting healthy behavior, and you're also allowing him or her to grow, and that's what they need to do most as college students.

Cover Image Credit: 123rf

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Why Your Grandma Is Your Biggest Blessing In Life

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There are many people in your life you are thankful for: Mom, Dad, siblings, cousins, best friends, teachers, neighbors, you name it. You are grateful to have people who constantly support you, who pick you up when you're down and love you unconditionally. But the one person who stands out among the rest of them is your grandma.

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Ever since you were little, you and your grandma have always had a special connection. Going over to Grandma's house for the night was something you looked forward to. She knew how to entertain you at your best and worst moments. No matter what you did together, you loved it. Being with your grandma wasn't like being at home or with your parents – it was better. You went to the park, made cookies, went out to dinner, got a “sweet treat" at the mall, played Go Fish, took a bubble bath for as long as you wanted and got way too much dessert than you should have. You did things you weren't supposed to do, but Grandma didn't stop you. Because at Grandma's house there were no rules, and you didn't have to worry about a single thing. Being with Grandma was the true epitome of childhood. She let you be you. She always made sure you had the best time when you were with her, and she loved watching you grow up with a smile on your face.

The older you got, your weekend excursions with your grandma weren't as frequent, and you didn't get to see her as much. You became more and more busy with school, homework, clubs, sports, and friends. You made the most out of your time to see her, and you wished you could be with her more. Although you were in the prime of your life, she mattered even more to you the older you both became. You were with your friends 24/7, but you missed being with your grandma. When the time rolled around, and you got the chance to spend time with her, she told you never to apologize. She wanted you to go out, have fun and enjoy life the way it makes you happy.

Reflecting back on these moments with your grandma, you realize how truly special she is to you. There is no one who could ever compare to her nor will there ever be. All your life, there is no one who will be as sweet, as caring, as sincere or as genuine as her. Even though you're all grown up now, there are things about your grandma that never changed from when you were a kid. She still takes you out for your favorite meal because she knows how important eating out means to you. She writes you letters and sends you a $5 bill every now and then because she knows you're a hard-working college student with no money. She still helps you with all of your Christmas shopping because she knows it's your tradition. She still asks what's new with your young life because hearing about it makes her day and she still loves you to no end. Your grandma is your biggest blessing (whether you knew it or not), and she always will be no matter what.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Kron

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Come To Terms With Having An Imperfect Relationship With Your Parents And Accept Them As They Are

We expect our parents to eventually change and accept us for who we are, to see our sides, and to not take us for granted. But when this doesn't happen, we get incredibly furious.
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Despite coming from an Asian household, my relationship with my parents is not always governed by the classic "respect your elders" and "honor the family" values. Don't get me wrong though, I do hold true to these sayings, but with a grain of salt.

For those of us who do not have the good fortune of having healthy, happy relationships with our parents, there comes a moment of enlightenment when we realize that we will never have those kinds of relationships with our parents. That is absolutely OK.

In my case, this happened in the first semester of my first year of college. I was living away from home and was surprised by the unusually loving behavior of my mom and dad. However, once I started commuting from home the next semester, the loving gestures like texting me to ask me how my day or wanting to have a chat with me just because, ended and I felt like I was back to square one with my parents. I had hoped that the distance would make my parents be more expressive and open with me (which it did) but that was gone in an instant I was back home. I had the same old arguments with my parents and felt like a high school student all over again.

We expect our parents to eventually change and accept us for who we are, to see our sides, and to not take us for granted. But when this doesn't happen, we get incredibly furious. Then we feel incredibly guilty for being such bad children who just can't listen to their parents. This guilt forces us to deal with so much emotional abuse, manipulation, and stress until we realize that our parents are people. We are allowed to not get along with them.

Once I realized that I will neither be able to fully satisfy my parents nor will they treat me fairly, I was able to accept them for who they were. By not holding them up to expectations they couldn't meet, my parents became more human and their flaws were those of people, rather than of my parents. All of my hurt feelings subsided as everything became less personal.

Relationships between our parents dictate our choices, our treatment of others, and our treatment of ourselves. It's important to know that you are not at fault for not loving your parents to the moon and back and that you should not feel guilty for something you cannot control. Parents are not black or white, they are gray in that they give us life and we owe them respect and acknowledgment, but that doesn't guarantee love and harmony.

It is OK to be a "bad" child if that means doing what is best for you.

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