Now that your child is in college, be prepared. Roommate drama is a thing. How can parents help–or should we?
I experienced drama with my first roommate at the University of Washington. I won’t go into detail, but needless to say it wasn’t a pleasant experience. She was from out-of-state, didn’t know a soul, and after a few fun weeks of acting like besties, we were unable to live with each other. I remember her passive aggressive nature, and I never knew what I had done to offend her. But, she wouldn’t speak to me for days on end. Next, she glommed onto my brother and I watched them as an inseparable couple—except she’d flirt with one particular guy behind his back. We ended that roommate situation after two quarters and never spoke to each other again.
My son had a bad situation his freshman year. He and his roommate filled out the computerized roommate pairings at UCSB and they housed together because they had the exact same SAT scores and similar interests. However, the roommate was an hour from his home and girlfriend, had a ton of high school friends with him, and my son just didn’t click or want to get sucked into the continuation of high school life.
This weekend, we went to my daughter’s “Parents and Move-In Weekend.” For the second year, she’s living off-campus in a house with three other girls. She has a large, yet cozy room she’s decorated in her own style. But, inevitably there’s roommate trouble from time to time. Whether it’s someone who hoards dishes under their bed, roommates who never do the dishes, or another who’s boyfriend has moved in for 60 days…things will happen between college kids living in close quarters. They are used to having their own space. There’s bound to be tension as they figure out how to be adults, living with new people.
I’m glad we were there for her when some roommate drama cropped up. Here’s a few ideas to help with roommate drama:
As a parent, stay out of it unless it’s a dangerous situation or may result in trouble with the landlord.
Give support to your child and let them vent to you. Help them figure out what is the best course of action.
Why are they anxious or upset? It may be deeper than what they tell you on the surface.
It’s important for your child to not keep things bottled up, but talk things out. Whether it’s talking in person or texting—just make sure they are able to express themselves.
Advise your child to think things through before they act. Are they willing to live with the outcome of a roommate confrontation? Or, is it better to let it go?
Let your child know that it’s important to stand up for themselves. It’s not okay to be taken advantage of.
What roommate problems did you have? How do you help your kids handle roommate drama?
On another note, I read in the Seattle Times that the dorms I lived in are being demolished!
If I could go back in time, say 15 or so years, I’d do things differently as a parent and a swim mom. I’ve loved every minute of being a swim parent and truly believe that signing my kids up for our local club, the Piranha Swim Team, was the single best thing we’ve done for them. Sticking with the team through ups and downs was a plus, too. Not only did my kids become crazily physically fit and skilled swimmers, they learned to never give up through tough times—whether it was an illness, a plateau or learning what a new coach expects.
So what would I do differently? Here’s my list:
Not focus on performance.
Sometimes, I get way too caught up in big meets and best times. I wish I could kick back, relax and enjoy the little moments more.
Not get involved in parent drama.
Like most sports today, where you find a bunch of enthusiastic and involved parents, there’s bound to be some drama. If I could do it over, I’d never take sides or get involved. At times, I didn’t have a choice because of being on the board. But, the drama and problems we lived through don’t amount to beans, anymore.
Realize everybody is different.
Not every swimmer has the same drive or goals. Not every family is going to focus their lives around the pool. It’s okay for some kids to skip practice and have other interests besides school and swimming. I’d be less judgmental if I got a do over!
Not compare my kids to others.
When my kids were young and new to swimming, it was common for us to compare their progress to other swimmers. That led to upset feelings all around. Looking back on it, things that seemed so big at the moment, were only a fleeting moment in time.
Enjoy every moment of the process.
The years go by so quickly. The friends made with other parents, coaches and officials are ones to treasure. Enjoy it all.
What would you do differently as a swim parent?