When I left home three years ago and travelled 3,000 miles across the country to go to college, I expected to spend all my time gallivanting freely due to my newly found "independence." While that certainly ended up happening, though, another shift started to take place that I didn't expect in a million years — I started calling my mom almost every day. At first, I thought I was contacting her too much, especially as compared to my peers, but scientific research has found that it's totally normal for Millennials to keep in touch with parents. There's nothing wrong with giving your folks an additional call or two every week, so go ahead and pick up the phone if you feel the need.
Why exactly are Millennials so aggressively keeping in touch with their parents? In a recent article for The Psychologist, Karen Fingerman, a professor at the University of Texas, writes that the bonds between parents and children are intensifying for several reasons. The first, she notes, is that the long-term romantic partner is on the fall, which means that many Millennials don't have spouses, serious significant others, or partners with whom they have the make life-related decisions. Because of this, intergenerational relationships (such as the one between the parent and the child) are on the rise; indeed, many young adults name their parents as their most important social relationships, according to the research Fingerman details. Another reason we may be better at staying in touch with our parents is because technology has enabled us to do so. There are countless ways for me to get in touch with my parents, and I find that we're often shifting from calls, text messages, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp several times in one week to do so.
There is another side to the story, too, though, and that's when children and parents keep in touch so much that issues of invasiveness or micromanaging arise from the side of the parent. According to research from the Journal of Child and Family Studies, overprotective and over-involved parenting can lead to bad things, like depression, anxiety, and incompetence; as such, lines must be drawn around the kind of communication parents have with their children to ensure the well-being of everyone involved.
Of course, keeping in touch with your parents a lot doesn't automatically lead to invasiveness or micromanaging; in fact, it can be a great way to solve a lot of life's issues (or try to solve them). So here are five reasons why it's totally OK to call your parents a lot, because I know I certainly do.
1. Your Parents Can Be Great People to Vent and Rant To
Usually, parents are great people to vent to because they love you and want the best for you — which means that they'll likely be Team You, rather than Team The Person, Place, Or Thing That Is The Subject Of Your Venting. And if they do defend your opponent, it's likely because they want you to look at it from a new perspective which may ultimately be more helpful for you. While you may not appreciate that move in the moment, you may thank them for it later. My personal favorite reason to vent to my mom and dad is because they usually don't know the people or things I'm talking about, so I can trust that they won't gossip and that no feelings will be hurt. Plus, I can get an unbiased opinion on whether Jane Doe is actually being annoying, or whether my irritation with her is totally unreasonable.
2. It Puts Them at Ease
Your parents like to hear that you're doing OK, and calling them to update them about your life puts them at ease (in my experience, at least). Even if my mom is not actively worrying about me the moment I call her, it might save her some stress or anxiety that could arise later, especially if the number of days I don't call accumulates. Many parents, mine included, don't want to interrupt your day, so letting them know you're doing fine without asking them to take the initiative is a kind gesture they'll appreciate.
3. It Might Put You at Ease, Too
Parents may worry about their kids, but that doesn't mean kids don't worry about their parents. If you have a single parent, parents who have just recently started experiencing an empty nest, or parents who are otherwise going through a hard time, it's easy to get swept up in negative thoughts that something bad might happen to them. Calling them to ask about their day or see if there's any way you can help will certainly put you at ease and help keep you in the loop if there's something worrying you.
4. They Can Teach You How to Adult When You Forget
I'm a 22-year-old woman, and within the last month alone, I've called my parents to ask basic adulting questions including, but not limited to: How much laundry detergent do I really need? What exactly am I looking at when I pop the hood of my car? Can you overcook chicken? Can you put chicken in the oven? How the hell do you cook chicken in the first place? What does the IRS even want? How do I save money? Where is my birth certificate and will I ever need it? The list goes on. We all trip up sometimes and can't quite remember (or never learned) how to do an adult thing, and there's no one better to ask than your parents.
5. They Don't Make Excuses When You Need a Helping Hand (or Ear)
Sure, your parents are busy people, but rarely do they use their business as an excuse to not help you out with something like moving, packing, studying, or other things your friends may flake on. I've learned over the years that this aspect of the relationship is very important, and therefore needs to be reciprocated. I'm definitely guilty of asking my mom for a lot, but not helping her with things she needs in return. Call your parents to ask for help, but also call them to offer your help.
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