Time magazine recently published an article titled How Parents Make Things Worse For Struggling College Students, about the downsides of new college students co-ruminating with their parents during their college years. Co-rumination, by definition, is “extensively discussing and revisiting problems, speculating about problems, and focusing on negative feelings with peers.”
The author, Rachel Simmons, is attempting to link negative outcomes with extensive contact between parents and students, claiming that too much interaction is detrimental to kids’ problem-solving abilities and independence. What she fails to acknowledge, however, is that every parent-child relationship is different and all kids don't only call their parents to talk about their problems.
I personally have grown up very close with my parents. My mom is my best friend, and my dad is always going to be my first call after catching the Top 10 on SportsCenter. I talk to my parents almost every day of the week, whether it is a call, text, or sending them a link to an article about something we love. I find absolutely nothing wrong with the amount of contact I have with my parents.
Like many other BC students, I have lived a relatively sheltered life, but unlike many other BC students, I live over 1,000 miles away from home. I can’t just hop on a train or jump in my car and head home for the weekend if I’m craving a my mom's cooking, tired of doing laundry, or just miss my parents. I mean I could, if I wanted to drop around $600 for the trip… but I digress. I've found that when it is much harder to see your family frequently, conversations with them become that much more valuable.
Catching up with my dad about the latest trades or talking about last night’s killer loss is something that brings us together. It also keeps me sane, because no one up here gives a rat’s ass about Tampa sports’ triumphs and woes. It allows me to discuss some of my biggest interests with someone who gets it, and someone who is genuinely interested in talking to me.
I do not think that going to my mom about my problems is going to solve everything, but her opinion is probably one of the ones that I value the most. When I have exhausted my list of friends and they can’t help, or if it’s a problem involving them, I’m going to Mom 100% of the time. I trust my friends’ opinions’ completely, but I have known my mom longer and she gets me.
Contrary to what Simmons thinks, our conversations aren’t spent dwelling on problems in my life, therefore causing me to spiral into a pit of depression and anxiety. They’re spent productively coming up with solutions to my problems or experiencing my mother's support for decisions I have already made independently. Talking to my mom almost every day does the opposite of what Simmons claims will happen to my well being: it makes me happy hearing her voice and de-stressed listening to advice on boys, friends, classes, and my future.
Wisdom is acquired through experience, and that is just what our parents have. As kids we tend to forget that they were once in our shoes. I know this might seem gross, but yes, they too have had very similar experiences to the ones we are having right now at BC.
That is why I value my parents’ opinions so much, because at one point a very very long time ago (sorry Mom) they stood where we stand today. Hindsight is 20/20, and even if their problems weren't identical to the ones we face, I'd bet the lessons they learned still ring true.
I feel absolutely no shame when I admit that I speak to my parents regularly. I am in no way any less independent. I can still function on my own and take care of myself without having to call my parents for help with menial tasks. It is the deeper issues and common interests that I talk to them about. That is what makes our relationship so strong and my happiness so much greater.