I’m going to college soon, and my parents aren’t making a big deal out of any of my “lasts”. Why can’t they see this year as special?

Try to see it from their point of view, says our elder. You’ll find out that they really do love you.

Dear EWC

I am going off to college in August and it seems like my parents don’t care. I thought my senior year of high school would be filled with a lot of great lasts like my last birthday at home, my last prom, my last Christmas at home, and my last spring break. I just found out that my parents aren’t planning for us to do anything over the break and I’m deeply hurt. We usually plan something every year and I know money is not tight. My dad specifically told my mom not to plan anything for what feels like no reason. My last birthday was a bust already and I’m so upset that my spring break is gonna be that way too. How do I cope with the fact that my parents don’t see my last year as special as I do and avoid further disappointment?

Grandpa-Matt replies

I can appreciate the disappointment and upset that you are feeling because of your parents failing to mark the important milestones in your life. Based on the past, your expectations and assumptions you have around these events have created the upset.

Since you were given no explanation for this change in their behavior, you have concluded that they probably don’t care. Yet, you haven’t said that you asked them why the change? What you did is: 1. observed their behavior; 2. made up what their behavior means; 3. acted as if it is true; 4. became upset.

We do this most of the time. We almost never check out with the person what they mean by the actions they take. We create a negative fantasy, then promptly forget that we made it up, and then act as if it is true. Sometimes it is true, but often it is not. What you might have done is to communicate with them and get clarity as to what is really going on. That, at least, gives you the opportunity to tell them your feelings, and why it is so important in this time of passage where you are getting ready to leave the “nest”.

Let’s look at the possibilities from their point of view. I’m not saying that it is true, but it may be an explanation for their actions. Every one of these last events become evident to them that you are shortly moving on. As a parent, it is a rude awakening to find that our ‘little girl” is no longer our little one. It is a loss that is natural but can be sometimes unwelcome. Maybe your folks don’t want to be reminded of the last of the events of your senior year. Perhaps they are ignoring the reality and the painful experience coming up by your maturity. It could be that they are focusing on themselves and the emotions they are experiencing by this passage of their daughter into maturity.

You will find out that they do care and love you, and that they have a reason for what they do. No normal human being does anything with a reason or justification. You might not agree with them, but you can rely on the fact that they do have their reasons. Understanding them will help you cope. I urge you to have a talk with them to find out where you and they might come to a resolution that works for all of you.

Good luck.

Letter #: 420788
Category: Family

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