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Mom Too Involved

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,


I commute to college and still live with my parents. My mother tries to be involved with most things I do at college and asks if she can go to any event I'm attending. I understand that she's probably bored or unhappy, but I'm already unhappy about going to school so close to home. I've taken her to some school concerts and plays, but now she's asking to go to poker night and hints that she wants to work at the college or take classes there. I see her enough already. I'm at my wit's end. Help?

Signed: Mom Too Involved

Dear Mom Too Involved,


It is nice that your mother wants to spend time with you but she has taken it to the extreme. You are at a point in your life where you begin to individuate and separate from your family. It is just part of the growing process and not a reflection on your mother. It is normal and reasonable for you to start laying the foundation for how you want your life to materialize. Having your mother constantly intruding on these plans makes it very difficult on you.


It is important that you begin to set appropriate boundaries with your mother and let her know that while you appreciate her as a mother that you need a social life outside the family. You are probably right that your mother is “probably bored or unhappy,” but this is not something you can fix for her. Try talking to your dad or a family member who your mother is close to and have them involve your mother in some events that she may enjoy. You can encourage your mother to find activities that she could do with your dad or her friends. Joining a club is a great way to meet new people who have a common interest, which is how many friendships start.


If you believe that depression might be the root of the problem then you could speak with dad and let him know your concerns so that your mother gets the proper help. A good indicator that depression may be a contributing factor is if your mother was involved in many activities in the past but has recently stopped.


College is a big transition for young people but it is also a big transition for parents as well. When a child goes off to college a parent’s role dramatically changes. Some adults have a hard time adjusting to the notion that their child is becoming less dependent on them just as some adolescents have a hard time adjusting to being on there own.


When talking to your mom make sure she understands that this is about you wanting to have more independence and not that you don’t want to be with her. Remind her that she still plays a very important role in your life and there are plenty of activities that you look forward to the both of you doing together. Hopefully she will understand otherwise her behaviors will push you away, distance wise and emotionally.




Signed: TeenHealthFX