Dear Carolyn: My 18-year-old son recently began his first relationship with a 20-year-old girl. Theyve been attending community college together and started as friends. He still sees his friends, although he spends the rest of his time either texting, Skyping, watching TV remotely online, or spending time in person with her.
They are both leaving home for different four-year universities in the fall. I was looking forward to the university further progressing his independence new people, new activities, etc. However, their universities are within eight miles of each other they applied before they knew each other and they found free shuttles between their schools. They both have anxiety in public places so Im afraid theyre just going to reinforce each others weaknesses and spend all their time in each others dorm rooms rather than taking advantage of the university experience. I like his girlfriend, but I am concerned about her influence over him.
Id like to have an honest conversation with him about my concerns, yet I dont want to damage our changing relationship or make him think I question his ability to handle things. Should I talk to him about this, or just wait and see what happens?
You do question his ability to handle things, thats your whole letter, so I dont think you can discuss this without sending that message. You either admit you have doubts and why, and take your chances on damage; or keep your doubts to yourself and let him figure out what hes missing when he shuttles between campuses; or accept that shuttling between campuses is one way of further progressing his independence it merely isnt the one youd choose for him.
I sympathize with your desire to teach him, but the college (or life, or any) experience is its own best spokesperson, and those who tune it out most likely honed that skill by tuning out Mom.
As you say goodbye this fall, give it one good whack Hey, youve got one shot at this experience wring everything out of it then trust the strength of the pull.
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