leaving for college soon--how often should he call home? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 06-19-2012, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son will be leaving for college in August, and I don't know how often to ask him to call home.  How often do you ask your college kids to call?  I want to know how everything is and what's up, but there's absolutely no way I can know nearly as much about his life as I have when he's living at home and I can see and talk to him for however long I want to each day.  It's just not the same when talking over the phone sporadically. I don't have a clue about what to ask regarding his calling home.  I'm sure he'd want to know what we expect in this, too.

 

Thanks so much for your thoughts.

 

Beth

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#2 of 26 Old 06-19-2012, 05:48 PM
 
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I may not be the person to ask, because I'm 38 and talk to my mom almost every day. loveeyes.gif

 

I dunno, I'd probably just be straight up with him and tell him you want to know anything and everything he wants to tell you, but you realize that he's no longer a minor child and may not want to feel like he's "reporting" to you every day.  That you'd appreciate hearing from him regularly, and any random time he wants to just say hi.

 

Personally, I think once a week is about the least I'd want to hear from a kid; in college, I think I averaged every other day or so, but my mom and I both like to talk....a lot.  lol.gif


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#3 of 26 Old 06-19-2012, 06:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We're not used to talking to each other by phone.  It's a totally different feel.  He's not the kind of kid who will instigate how often.  He's laid back and more the type who wants to know what we expect from him.

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#4 of 26 Old 06-19-2012, 06:52 PM
 
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I don't think I talked to my parents for the whole first month on the phone when I first left for school and they gave me that space. Then, I started calling them probably once or twice a month then came home for the breaks and summer. The college kids we know don't do phone calls much. They have facebook (though they keep their parents on "restricted" status meaning they only see public posts that they themselves writeor anything they specifically tag the parent in as opposed to all the stuff friends write on their walls and such. I know my friends delight in the random texts and occasional video skype chats. I don't know that any of the require calls and I'd be hesitant to do so myself. I know it's not unusual for them to not call at all the first month or two as they soak up their new freedom but I don't know what is average after that.


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#5 of 26 Old 06-19-2012, 07:21 PM
 
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Yikes, I think I'm gonna hate my kids going to college then.  I wasn't used to talking on the phone with my parents when I was a teenager because you know, I lived with them, and cell phones and the internet weren't around.  Yeah, I'm that old.  I can't imagine not contacting them for a whole month!  EEP!!!!  If he's going to expect you to make a suggestion, then I'd say once a week - if you find you have nothing to talk about, then maybe once a month, and then you call him once a month.  That makes me sad, though.  I guess Facebook would be OK, but it's not the same as someone's voice. 


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#6 of 26 Old 06-19-2012, 08:05 PM
 
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Would it be easier to email?  Are you on Facebook with him? Calling just seems kind of quaint these days, LOL.


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#7 of 26 Old 06-19-2012, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm that old, too.  You didn't call home-no cell phones and the long distance fee was too much.  If you did anything, you wrote a letter...  I'm also hating that I'm losing the communication I have with him.  I know all his likes, dislikes, fun times about his days and am totally up on what's happening with him.  I know the right questions to ask, because of that.  It really makes a difference.

 

I would want to talk once a week I think, but the phone isn't the same at all.  I don't know.

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#8 of 26 Old 06-19-2012, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't have Facebook.  He does, but I don't..

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#9 of 26 Old 06-20-2012, 06:48 AM
 
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I find text messaging is a nice, fairly non-intrusive way to stay in contact. DS, who just finished his first year at college, is still at home right now, but considering moving out before the fall term starts. When we are apart for several days, we'll text message about once a day, just to say hello. A phone call or Skype once a week, along with e-mail, allows for more in-depth conversations.  When he moves out, I imagine we'll continue a similar pattern. 

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#10 of 26 Old 06-20-2012, 06:50 AM
 
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Oh, and I don't use Facebook either. 

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#11 of 26 Old 06-20-2012, 07:16 AM
 
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I'm that old, too.  You didn't call home-no cell phones and the long distance fee was too much.  If you did anything, you wrote a letter...  I'm also hating that I'm losing the communication I have with him.  I know all his likes, dislikes, fun times about his days and am totally up on what's happening with him.  I know the right questions to ask, because of that.  It really makes a difference.

 

I would want to talk once a week I think, but the phone isn't the same at all.  I don't know.

 

Mom of a 22 y.o. college senior and 19 y.o. college sophomore here.  You might like skype or other video chat setup for the face-to-face aspect of it.  On Thanksgiving, our laconic DS2 skyped us, took his laptop to the kitchen, and had us hang out with him while he made his dinner.  Really cute!

 

Both my sons still use email routinely but are also on FB, I am not on FB but email all the time.  I do sometimes resort to a quick email  to DS2:  "Say 'Hi!'  :-)"  He'll always come back with a friendly "Yo" or something similar.

 

DS1 is in touch a lot, email, IM, phone, or skype.  When something's up, he tends to want phone or skype since they're more personal.  We never had to ask him to call at certain intervals because he never, that I can recall, went a week without some kind of contact.

 

DS2, as I said, is laconic.  And he doesn't use his cell phone.  Sometimes when he's straight out, he goes close to two weeks with no presence of any kind, but then he'll go visible on his chat screen without interacting but so we can see his green dot, so we know he's functioning.  As long as my head count's in order I can wait to hear from him.  Funny thing is when he does get in touch, he'll be on with us for a couple of hours at a time; we just let him talk, and he ends up showing us a lot about what his life is like.


Empty-nesting SAHM to DS1 (1989), DS2 (1992), an underachieving Bernese Mountain Dog (2006-2014), and an overachieving mother (1930).  Married to DH since 1986.
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#12 of 26 Old 06-20-2012, 08:46 AM
 
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Mom to a 20yo Junior and 18yo Freshman.

 

My son calls when he has something that he wants to share, or just to say hi, or on special occasions. Sometimes he texts me. We're on FB together (I'm unrestricted). He knows I'll comment on some stuff, and leave other things be. He's very open with me. I do ask him to give me a ring after the first few days of classes to let me know how they're going, etc. He also usually calls to talk about course selections, upcoming concerts, events, etc.

 

My daughter... We'll see. I have no expectations (and I think that's the key, as a parent), but hope she'll keep in touch to let me know how classes are, how she's doing on the team, etc. I KNOW she will call to ask me to send food. We're also on FB together, so I'll know she's still alive.

 

It's really hard to let go, I know. I think it's best to let them know that you'd love to know how things are going and talk on the phone, but you also understand that it's a busy time so even a text now and again would be great. AND that they can call anytime. But don't expect them to call you at specified times. You don't want your kid to be the one who has to say "Yeah hold on - I have to call my Mom."

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#13 of 26 Old 06-20-2012, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. It helps me to know how other people keep in contact with their college kids.  I still don't know what we'll do, really.  It's a new world.  In one way, it would be easier to just see and talk to him when he gets home on vacations (except for an initial-how are your classes, teachers and roommate, plus making friends..., because talking on the phone with him is so different.  Maybe skyping is what we should do once in a while, I don't know.  I joked that his younger brother might skype him, asking help on his math homework.  My oldest son has always been available to help him with his math and has been such a help for him, in other areas too.

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#14 of 26 Old 06-21-2012, 07:06 AM
 
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I mentioned this thread to my 18yo and asked her what she thought was reasonable. Her take, pretty much? Don't tie them in to calling you on specific days at specific times. Let them know you'd love to hear from them about how everything's going, but don't get bent out of shape if they don't report every little detail all the time. They will call you - but the more yoiu push, the harder they'll pull back.

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#15 of 26 Old 06-21-2012, 09:54 AM
 
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i am also not the one to ask considering I'm 30 years old and talk to my mother pretty much every day. when i was away at college it was less for sure, and there was no skype, but we probably phone chatted twice a week or so. the thing about that age too though is that they will call when they need something. the natural self-centeredness of a teenager. my mom and i talked the most back then when i needed something, and the conversation extended from there. and i think if the phone is not your usual way of communicating then definitely go the skype route. and if you have gmail, the chat function has video chat - basically the same as skype. that way it's like you're actually hanging out, he gets to see his familiar house, you get to see his new digs, and face to face is always better in my experience. 

 

and i'm sure you are already aware of all this, but his leaving home and branching out and maybe not calling you for awhile is a totally healthy and important developmental milestone for that age. you can think of it as just an important milestone as when he crawled or talked as a baby. :)


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#16 of 26 Old 06-21-2012, 10:10 AM
 
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I don't have Facebook.  He does, but I don't..


I may have to join this fall because my daughter is headed to college, too. I loathe the FBook.. but I do want to know my kid is alive each day. Maybe I can join with an assumed name?winky.gif
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#17 of 26 Old 06-21-2012, 10:39 AM
 
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When I was in college I talked to my mom on the phone every Sunday morning around the same time. It was kind of nice to have that routine day and time to talk with her.

My mom didn't ever demand that we talk on the phone once a week. It just evolved that way and continued even after college between us until she died.

 

Dh was 19 when we married and was not living at home and he would go months without seeing or talking to his parents- no letters, e-mails, texts or facebook either. They were all comfortable with that level of contact I guess but it seems awfully distant to me.


Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#18 of 26 Old 06-21-2012, 06:01 PM
 
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I'm really close to my mom, she had read some stuff warning against calling new college kids so she didn't...honestly I was kinda upset she didn't call! I'm all grown up with my own kids now and still talk to her almost daily. Maybe weird for some, depends on how close you are!

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#19 of 26 Old 06-21-2012, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The first week I think it will be most important (after that he'll have friends and be more comfortable there).  At first everything will be new, he'll have a lot to share and I want to hear how he is and how it's going.  I'd rather have my son pick the time to call because he'll know when he's available, and able to talk.  I like the ideas of using Skype and gmail video chat (didn't know that existed).  I've just never done it before.  He tells me a lot of what's happening in his life from day to day.  It will be so different when he's away at college.  I know we'll catch up when he comes home for vacations, but still...  Yeah--I've never talked much with him on the phone, although I have, it's just not the time I talk about everything that's going on.  We interact on the phone for him to let me know he'll be late and that kind of talk.

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#20 of 26 Old 06-22-2012, 02:38 PM
 
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I used to call home pn Wednesday and Sunday evenings and then if I had something else to share.

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#21 of 26 Old 06-22-2012, 05:14 PM
 
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 Yeah--I've never talked much with him on the phone, although I have, it's just not the time I talk about everything that's going on.  We interact on the phone for him to let me know he'll be late and that kind of talk.

 

 

I think that's pretty normal, and I think it's normal for that to morph as kids get older and become adults.  You may not be used to talking to him a lot on the phoen *now* because you don't really need too....but being further apart physically kind of necessitates a different kind of communication, you know?

 

I'm sure you'll get into your own groove.  :)


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#22 of 26 Old 06-23-2012, 06:46 AM
 
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I also asked my oldest, and he said that it worked well for him when I texted him and asked thar he call when he had a chance.

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#23 of 26 Old 06-24-2012, 01:54 PM
 
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I don't have Facebook.  He does, but I don't..

I'm considering getting an account b/c he said he'd friend me when he goes to college.  I don't think FB will be good for me.  I think I would get sucked in.  Dang.

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#24 of 26 Old 07-16-2012, 06:11 PM
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Interesting thread.   I'm glad I stopped in.   My oldest is headed off to college in August and the idea of not being able to communicate daily is so strange. 

 

I feel more normal now!    And seeing familiar names with college aged kids has been nice.  My plan was to sit tight and see what he does.

 

I will be thinking of you all in August.


Trying to do the right thing with three kids and a hubby. 
ds20, dd18, ds16

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#25 of 26 Old 07-19-2012, 03:05 PM
 
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That is a good question. My daughter is still young but I wonder how often she will call me when she is in college. It's a tough one. We tell our kids what to do for years:) Then they finally get out of it and move on. Do they really want to call every day or every week or do they just feel obligated. It's a challenge. Boys are typically very attached to their moms. I hope your son will surprise you (in a good way).

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#26 of 26 Old 07-19-2012, 03:15 PM
 
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I think the early months when i went away (i'm in the UK so i started at 17 not 18) i called about 2 or 3 times a week, but it settled into once a week after a few months.  Generally on a Sunday afternoon.  That continued until she died when i was 24 (so long after i'd graduated).

 

My dad and i talk less often - we email and text a few times a week but tend to chat on the phone more like once a fortnight or so, though for 3 hours at a time!

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