Communication is Key: Students rip off the band-aid with parental issues

Thought bubble

Thought bubble

Entering college should be full of excitement — new friends, new life and new journeys await. Leaving home can mean gaining independence, but for some, it can mean stricter parents. 

Hospitality management major Justine Pelka had some very rough experiences as she left for college, but said it got easier as the years went by.

In high school, Pelka’s parents told her to download Life360, which was an app to track a location, what time and how long you were there and how fast you were driving in a vehicle.

They told her to download the app for safety reasons back in high school.

When Pelka arrived at college, her mother would bombard her questions asking where she was, what she was doing out so late and why she was there.

For the longest time, Pelka did not understand why she was asking those questions, until she found out that her mother was regularly checking the app and keeping tabs on where she was at.

Once Pelka find out, she confronted her mother and said she needed to have her independence. 

“I told her that I was an adult and was able to go out without her having to keep tabs on me,” Pelka said. “I told my mom that she was invading my privacy and that she needed to back off.”

After the talk, Pelka’s mother was upset, and they were in a constant argumentative state. Her mother told Pelka that no matter how old she was, she was always going to worry about her safety.

Pelka was the youngest child, but also the first child to leave home for college. Her mother accepted that she needs to let go and let her grow at college.

“I’m glad I decided to be honest with my parents because if I didn’t, the problem would have never resolved,” Pelka said. “Even though we had an argument, I would say we are better off now.”

Another student had a similar issue with her mother. Art education major Vanessa Scanlon said her mother does not understand her and does not listen.  

Whenever Scanlon wants to go to her friend’s house to either sleep over or just hang out later at night, her mother doesn’t understand why she has to.

“I am 21 years old,” Scanlon said. “I should not have to ask my mother permission to sleep over at my friend’s house.”

When Scanlon would start to gather her items to go over to her friend’s house, her mother would act confused as if she did not know why she was going.

“I would get so angry when she acted like this,” Scanlon said. “Instead of telling her goodbye and when I was leaving, I would just get up and go.”

When Scanlon was on her way to her destination, her mother would spam text her, yelling at her for being disrespectful and not telling her where she was going.

“Me and my mother have hard times communicating because she never wants to hear my side of the story,” Scanlon said.

Usually, they resolve their issues by going to separate parts of the house. Scanlon goes into her room and shuts the door while her mother goes into the living room. They usually won’t communicate until the next day.

After the continuous fights, Scanlon knew it was becoming toxic and wanted to find a better way to communicate with her mother.

“I talked to her about going to therapy, but it did not seem like she was interested,” Scanlon said. “Since she said she did not like the idea of therapy, I told her she has to start communicating with me on issues instead of us both running away from them.”

Things started to resolve after Scanlon sat down and had a long conversation with her mother about the miscommunication and the disrespect they both had when arguing.  

Since the long talk, Scanlon said things were better and they start to talk about their issues instead of ignoring each other. 

“It actually helped to sit down and talk to her about the issues,” Scanlon said. “I thought it was going to be difficult, but she was capable of listening.”

This is part of a Communication is Key series.

Cassondra Siaus covers relationships. Contact her at [email protected].