Family Relationships Change


As you enter college, it’s important to remember that your family members are going through a transition too. If you lived with your family while attending high school, they are probably used to seeing you more often than not, communicating with you frequently and knowing what you are up to most of the time. If you’ve been living under the same roof throughout your childhood, you and your parents and family haven’t had to try that hard to stay connected with each other.

When you head off to college, your relationships with the people in your family are bound to change. Part of growing up is moving towards greater independence; this doesn’t mean you sever relationships with your family but the nature and balance of the relationships change. This will be more or less challenging depending on how independent you’ve been in the past, how much involvement your family wants to have in your college life and to what extent you expect to stay connected to your family during your college years. If you can think about some of these things in advance and anticipate some of these changes it will make the adjustment, for you and your family, a little bit easier.

Work with your family to define these changing roles and boundaries. Have conversations before you start college to address how you’ll stay connected. Will it be email, texting, or regular calls? What types of decisions will they be involved in, and what things will you handle on your own? Be patient as you and your family members adapt to these changes, and keep the lines of communication open. Remember too that your needs (and those of your family) will change during your first semester. You may need more frequent contact and support in the first few weeks when things are less familiar and you know fewer people than you will as the term progresses and you “settle in”.

Want to hear more from Set to Go? Get updates about Set to Go and other JED news.

By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails from The Jed Foundation (JED). View our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Contact Information.

Go to Video...