DEAR HARRIET: My son is now in college and it is very hard for me to stop calling or texting him on a daily basis.
A friend of mine reminded me that now is his time to exercise his independence. If I’m too attached to him, he won’t have the space for that. She also pointed out that when we were in college, we didn’t have cell phones, so it wasn’t possible for our mothers to be so smothering. We had no choice but to grow up alone.
Of course it was then, but this is now. I find it almost impossible not to get in touch every day. If I’ve been successful and a week has passed, I find myself punishing my son for not contacting me sooner.
How can I better manage this transition?
Get a grip
BEST GET A GRIP: A child entering college can be challenging for both parent and child, but it is often more difficult for the parent for a variety of reasons. At the top is the fact that your life hasn’t changed that much in terms of your routines, while your child is experiencing a plethora of new people, situations, locations, and opportunities.
Your child’s life just got exciting, and yours probably feels like there’s a huge void where there once was a giant ball of light and energy.
You have to fill your time with a new kind of excitement. Consider adopting a hobby, taking on a big project around the house, planning a vacation, preparing for a marathon. Come up with something that can occupy your time and help you stop obsessing over your son.
Don’t make him feel guilty if he reaches out. Just listen and learn about his life as you fill yours with activities that are meaningful to you.
DEAR HARRIET: I invited a friend of mine to a group tour for my birthday. She told me she may not be able to come but asked me to reserve her spot and told me she would refund me the non-refundable deposit.
Six other friends came and they all paid on time. I kindly asked my only friend to let me know if she couldn’t come before the deadline. She let me know the day after the deposit was due she couldn’t make it.
Unfortunately her inaction has resulted in me losing the deposit and now she is refusing to refund me.
I understand there are circumstances, but I was clear about what was expected and the consequences if I didn’t respond in time. What should I do?
Pay me back
DEAR PAY ME BACK: The mistake you made was not following the protocol of the trip. You knew the deposit was non-refundable. She should have paid for it, not you.
Of course, since she promised to pay you back, she should. But you know how the “shoulda coulda wouldas” go, right? Maybe you should eat the loss.
Make it clear to your friend that you made a concession on her behalf in good faith and that you are disappointed that she broke her agreement. That’s all you can do.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people achieve and activate their dreams. Inquiries may be sent to [email protected] or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.