Illustration by Seth Moriarty

To say … or not to say. Just how much should your updates to your parents really hold?

It is a Monday afternoon. You have just finished classes and are chilling at the Bon with some friends. Your phone turns on to notify you of a “call me when you are free” text from Mom. Will you tell her all about your wild weekend on campus? Or will you refrain? Will you tell her you missed a class today because of how hungover you were? Or will you refrain from that too? 

See, a call to your parents every other day is akin to a formal report. Of course, that does not make the phone calls less valuable, nor does it deny how easily the family group chat can make a chaotic day better. But, we also cannot help but admit that some days, you need a good couple of minutes just to filter out what you should and should not tell your parents over a phone call. So, how truthful should your updates really be? Let me break that down for you. 

First of all, I think two of the most valuable assets are a (somewhat) good memory, and an ability to predict your parents’ reactions with some degree of sophistication. For example, let’s say you lived the typical college experience of falling in love and finding a partner within the first month of classes. You fall into the dilemma of to tell, or not to tell your parents. Well, think back to a time when a similar discussion about young love was brought up around your parents . How did they react to it? Now, use that memory and apply it to your current situation. Of course, their reaction to their own kid dating might be considerably different than to others; still, this process of “inductive reasoning” I have just outlined could give you a slight hint as to how truthful your update to your parents should be.  

But wait, my friend… It is not just the bad college-kid stuff you do that you might want to censor! One thing you are probably aware of (and absolutely love) is that no matter how near or far, you still are not around your parents. I know that you are anything but mad about that, but hey, it is still a hard pill for your parents to swallow. I humbly recommend you keep your updates balanced. Try not to sugarcoat them, but also do not call your parents every couple of hours to whine about your roommate being annoying, or whimper about not wanting to share a bathroom with fifteen others. Take advantage of the friends you make in college. Go to them with your problems. And if they give you crap about it, heck, find other people to complain to. There are plenty! Definitely complain to your parents too, but be warned: they might – as parents like to do – lose sleep over your problems. 

Bottom line is, keep your updates balanced. Think of what you will say beforehand. Try to be truthful, always, but not at the expense of your leisure (let me tell you, your parents will find a way to ground you, even from a thousand miles away).

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