Parents, listen up, as you may be about to make the biggest mistake of your life. A tidal wave of peer pressure – yes, admit it’s still a thing when you’re over 40 – may have brought you to the edge of a dangerous cliff, and you’re teetering way too close to disaster.
But I’m here to tell you: there’s still time to execute a swift 180, place your hands firmly on their shoulders, and escort them away from the precipice.
You do not have to allow them to go to college, and ruin all the hard work you’ve been doing for the past 18 years.
You can resist.
You can regain control.
You can re-establish your proper place in the parental universe.
The craziness can stop right now and it’s all going to be OK.
Here is precisely why you should never, ever let them leave the comforts of your home:
1. They will begin to exhibit all sorts of odd behaviors.
They will likely get up entirely on the own in the morning without you yelling at them multiple times. With you not hovering over their slumped body to certify they’ve eaten a healthy breakfast with some protein, a little whole grain cereal and orange juice, they may consume a slice of cold pizza for breakfast, or a large coffee – or nothing at all! They will probably arrive late at a few classes and have no one to call in an excuse for them. This will completely ruin your family’s reputation – and their life.
2. They will be forced to listen to radical, extreme and dangerous professors.
No one will be there to protect them from opposing viewpoints, politically incorrect ideas, and activist-type opinions. This is very dangerous, and understandably upsetting. As parents, we need to continue to filter what they see and hear, and block any attempts at brainwashing or wholly free thought. There will be people trying to persuade them that their (and your) beliefs may be wrong or biased in some way. Do not let them fall into that mindset. How is it right that they be exposed to all that nonsense?
3. They will make friends with complete strangers.
Talk about a slap in the face. They will start to hang out with kids whose parents you do not even know and will probably never meet! Kids from different cities, states, possibly even different countries. Kids of different ethnicities, religious backgrounds and sexual orientation. You will be completely unable to prevent this from happening, so think long and hard if you wish to allow these kinds of cross-sectional relationships from developing.
4. They will learn how to clean up after themselves and do their own laundry.
No more doing things your way – and c’mon, we all know that that means the right way. They probably won’t wash out their mug after every use, or even dust off their desk once a week. There is the high likelihood that they put on a pair of visibly dirty jeans. When, and if, they wash their sheets, they’re likely to use too much detergent and forget the dryer sheet. It’s guaranteed that at least one white t-shirt will turn a dingy pink or streaky- bluish color. (Yet another trashing of your family reputation.)
5. They will go out late at night and you’ll have no idea where they are or what they’re doing.
Fair warning, Mom and Dad- here is what’s about to go down: They will head out from their dorm or apartment after 10pm. They will walk in the dark, or – take a deep breath now – Uber somewhere with a group of kids. Yep, another total stranger, and this time behind the wheel, and probably going too fast. At their destination, there is even the chance they will be offered something illegal, and you won’t be there to advise them as to what to say or do. Risky opportunities are everywhere! Sexual activity has been known to happen on and around college campuses. It is imperative that you do not allow them to make these kinds of choices all on their own.
So, remember: You’ve toiled for years to create the perfect kid. There’s still time for many of you to avoid all the anxiety and heartache of permitting a child to venture forth into the worrisome world of college.
Let’s be real – it’s all about you – not them.
Marybeth Bock, MPH, is Mom to two adult-ish kids and 1 delightful dog. She lives in Arizona, teaches Health and Wellness classes, and thoroughly enjoys research and writing – as long as iced coffee is involved. You can find her writing on Grown and Flown, Blunt Moms, and on random scraps of paper around her house. Facebook https://www.facebook.com/marybeth.loydbock Twitter https://twitter.com/publichealthmom Instagram https://instagram.com/mbbock/