Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Assert independence from abroad in email

Q: I'm a 21-year-old currently studying abroad at a great distance from my parents. I love my parents very much, and, as a result, we communicate frequently. During college, I would call my mother four or so times a week, but with the time difference, communication here is limited to email. I have to admit, I don't mind the added distance.

The problem is the distance has not decreased their protectiveness, which can be somewhat stifling. Everything from my choice to stay in on a certain night (reflecting my failure to take advantage of opportunities here) to why I won't take care of myself when I'm ill becomes a subject of debate.

Recently, I had a cold, and I mentioned it to justify my decision to stay inside and watch movies with a small group of friends. Every email since then has ignored anything else I've wished to say and demanded to know why I haven't seen the doctor.

By this point, the cold has passed. But I cannot convince them that I don't need to be rushed to the hospital. As a result, I'm tempted to stop emailing entirely. This move seems far too passive-aggressive, yet I feel that after months of this, it's long past the time where I should say something. But what?

I don't want to lose touch with my parents or disappoint them, and I do genuinely enjoy emailing with them. How do I get them to trust that I know what I need, and that if I don't, figuring it out alone might be good for me?

G.

A: Choosing not to email your parents anymore — or to selectively ignore anything that intrudes on your business — is not "passive-aggressive" if you send them this first: "Dear Mom and Dad. I am 21. You raised me well (and to excess! JK), and it's time to trust that. I respect your opinion and advice — when I ask for it, not whenever you think I need it.

"To that end, I am through discussing my sniffles, justifying my choices for evening entertainment, or otherwise running my daily life by you for approval.

"I'm doing this because I love you, and this is what I need to keep our connection strong.

"Yours in competence, I swear,

"Pookie."

Good luck.

Comments
Top things to do this week in Tampa Bay: Jeff Dunham, Victor Wooten and Sinbad perform jazz

Top things to do this week in Tampa Bay: Jeff Dunham, Victor Wooten and Sinbad perform jazz

PUPPET MASTER: Jeff DunhamCelebrated ventriloquist Jeff Dunham is no dummy. The record-breaking comedy superstar sells out arenas around the world, bringing along his ill-behaved puppets including grouchy Walter, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, redneck Bu...
Updated: 1 hour ago
This week’s best concerts: Flo Rida, Queens of the Stone Age, Bay 2 Beach Festival and more

This week’s best concerts: Flo Rida, Queens of the Stone Age, Bay 2 Beach Festival and more

ROCK ROYALTY: Queens of the Stone AgeWhen Queens of the Stone Age singer Josh Homme got in trouble recently for kicking a photographer at a show, local fans might have seen it coming. During a gig here in 2014, a fan got up on stage and tried to gree...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Tell Me About It: Addressing the party no-show epidemic

Q: My family recently celebrated our son’s birthday. We had a number of guests RSVP "yes" to our invitation who not only didn’t show, but also didn’t even have the decency to contact us to let us know. It’s been a week since the party.This left us wi...
Published: 04/24/18

Tell Me About It: Sister’s remark is a teaching opportunity

My husband’s sister, "Kate," is expecting her second child. They have a 3-year-old girl. My husband and I have two girls, 8 and 6. At our house this week, Kate talked extensively about her hopes that this next baby is a boy. Some of her reasons are c...
Published: 04/23/18

Tell Me About It: Mom fears she has discussed sex too soon

Q: This week I was in a discussion with a bunch of other third-grade parents about what our kids know about sex. The vast majority of these parents said their children were "clueless" and they wanted to maintain their kids’ innocence. I was one of th...
Published: 04/22/18
Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain talks breakup, reunion, getting sober and returning to St. Petersburg

Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain talks breakup, reunion, getting sober and returning to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — HGTV fanatic that he is, Spencer Chamberlain sees a metaphor for his band in the ever-evolving St. Petersburg skyline."When you go downtown and you look at the ONE, that used to be a dirt parking lot," said the singer, referring to a...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of April 23-29

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of April 23-29

St. Anthony’s Triathlon: World class athletes and Olympians race around St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Park on Sunday ($160-$180), while kids and novices race Saturday in the Meek and Mighty. A free kick-off celebration Friday has a concert by co...
Published: 04/23/18

Tell Me About It: Family reconsiders taking group trips

Q: Should there be expectations about taking vacations/trips with other family members? We have two issues:(1) We have three kids, including teenagers, and my brother and wife have two kids. The younger is 6. My wife and I find it hard to plan someth...
Published: 04/20/18
On its 20th anniversary, Disney's Animal Kingdom credits conservation with longevity

On its 20th anniversary, Disney's Animal Kingdom credits conservation with longevity

ORLANDO — When Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened 20 years ago, it was light on thrills and heavy on conservation. On April 22, 1998, Earth Day, the Orlando park had a single thrill ride, Countdown to Extinction, and a handful of shows like ...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Tell Me About It: How to deal with conversation dominators

Q: We have a few relatives, including a sibling, who we don’t see or hear from often, as we are busy or live far away. We meet over a meal or for an hour or so, or at family gatherings requiring a drive, and I am so frustrated that they dominate the ...
Published: 04/19/18