Now that your child is in college, be prepared. Roommate drama is a thing. How can parents help–or should we?
University of Utah, Salt Lake City
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.
University of Washington, Seattle–my alma mater
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.
UC Santa Barbara
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.
My daughter’s living quarters.
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.
Dusk at Liberty Park, Salt Lake City
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!