Eleanor from Student Counselling responds to a student dilemma…
I’m in my first year and this is the first time I’ve lived away from home. My Mum is really supportive and happy that I’m at Cardiff Uni but she’s always checking up on me because she’s worried about how I’m coping and where I am and wanting to know that I’m safe. She’s having real trouble letting go. 🤔
I want to have my freedom and enjoy my student life but feel like I need to stay in all the time just so she feels less worried. How can I reassure her that I’m responsible, able to look after myself and that I’m safe on nights out?
Having a child go off to University can be a huge challenge for many parents, especially if that University is a long way from home and in an unfamiliar city. You can’t control what your Mum thinks or how she’s feeling, and her anxiety is for her to manage – it’ll be helpful if you are able to gently accept that this is the way she is at the moment and that it’s her right to feel this way. It’s also not possible to control how she feels. It sounds as though she will be anxious about your safety and wellbeing no matter what. Both of you will need to allow time to adjust to this move to University and to the change in the dynamics of your relationship. Some patience and compassion may be required here. In the meantime, you can be mindful of her concerns while simultaneously taking advantage of your freedom.
Take a look at the tips and advice the University has on looking after yourself when come to University, register with a local GP and read about staying safe in the City. Download the SafeZone App so that should you ever need it, you have a quick and easy way to alert the university’s Security Services if you need help or assistance, and keep in mind that if you experience problems during your time at University, no matter how big or small the issue, the Counselling, Health and Wellbeing services at the Student Support Centre are here to help you. Take a look to see what support is available during your time at university.
When you’ve done this, share what you’ve learned and what action you’re taking to keep yourself safe with your Mum. Perhaps have a think for yourself what you will do to keep your mental health and wellbeing in check while you’re here and share those ideas with her.
It may also be time to accept the discomfort you may feel when asserting some boundaries with her. Discuss with her your need for a little more freedom and trust and consider suggesting that you both agree together on a schedule of pre-arranged telephone/webcam calls each week and request that unless necessary, all discussions and check-ins will happen at those pre-arranged times. Hopefully this will serve to reassure her and provide some of the contact that she needs while also giving you the freedom you want.
Eleanor, Student Counsellor
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