Every relationship is different. This is especially true of the relationship each person has with their parents. We all want to be close to our parents, which begins with regular, quality communication, but how often should you talk to them?
You should call your parents at least once a week. This ensures they’re up-to-date with what’s happening in your life and keeps the lines of communication open. But, of course, the frequency truly depends on your relationship with your parents.
Every family format is, of course, different, but for the sake of this article, we’ll talk about traditional parental roles and connections with children as we walk through communicating with parents via phone.
How Often Is It Normal to Call Your Mom?
It’s normal to call your mom multiple times a week. Although this isn’t true across the board, moms tend to play a more comforting role to their children, and thus, it makes sense if you talk to your mom more frequently during the week once you move out.
Let’s reiterate that this doesn’t mean dads are less involved, nor is this a statement of someone being a good or bad parent, but moms tend to fill a more nurturing role than their male counterparts in parenthood.
This means they’re more inclined to call and check-in, especially if you are no longer living with your parents. Some people talk to their moms every single day.
If this seems excessive, then think about this. When you lived at home with your parents, they got to see you every single day of the week. They generally knew where you went and could talk to you to find out how your day was.
Once you move out, that access is gone. That means part of their purpose of caring for and watching over you is gone. In that light, is it really so unusual if your mom wants to talk to you every day?
On the flip side, you’re used to having your parents nearby daily. For years, they served as a safety net – a comfort for the trials of life. So is it excessive if you want to win back some of that comfort each day through a phone call?
This isn’t true for everyone, but you often look to your mom for comfort. When you first leave home, you feel all sorts of discomfort, so it’s natural to look to your original source of comfort despite these life changes.
Some people carry this practice into adulthood. It’s normal if you call your mom multiple times a week. At the same time, if you are not extremely close with your mom, it’s normal if you call her every other week. On average, Americans call their mom once a week (source). The frequency depends on the closeness you experience with your mom.
How Often Is It Normal to Call Your Dad?
Calling your dad once a week or every two weeks is typical. Where moms tend to fulfill comfort for their children, dads are often a source of security. This sometimes means there’s greater emotional distance between dads and their children, but that’s not a statement of love or care.
While moms tend to be in the trenches of daily care, dads traditionally fill the provider role. This is not a statement of a different amount of love or care but a fulfillment of duties. The provider role focuses more on the overall function and health of the family unit.
Dads in this role may not feel the absence the same as moms in the nurturing role. However, that doesn’t mean dads miss their children less when they move out; it’s a reflection of daily life while their children lived in their home.
This means your dad may feel okay if he doesn’t talk to you every single day of the week. Once a week might be enough for him, or even once every two weeks. Moreover, a study showed that teenagers talk to their moms three times as often as their dads (source). So it makes sense for this practice to continue into adulthood.
Not to sound like a broken record, but it depends on your personal relationship with your dad. If he was heavily involved in your life and care as you grew up, you both may want to talk multiple times a week.
Or, if interactions were less due to life circumstances, twice a month may seem okay. The normal frequency of phone calls with your dad depends on how close you are to him.
Is It Unusual to Call Your Parents Every Day?
It’s not unusual to call your parents every day, as no relationship is perfect, but it is special between parents and their children. No matter how long you live on your own, there will always be a place in your heart for your parents. So it’s completely normal if you want to talk to them each day to share life like you did when you were young.
If you still live with your parents, chances are that you talk to them almost every day concerning basic daily routines and events. This happens more often as children get older, earn their driver’s licenses, and get their first car.
If this is the pattern you are used to, it’s not unusual to continue talking to your parents every day, even after you move out. Just because you gain personal independence does not mean you have to stop communicating with your parents as you did when you lived with them.
How Long Should You Talk To Your Parents on the Phone?
20-30 minutes is a reasonable length of time to catch up on recent events in a phone call with your parents. If you want to share thoughts and feelings or ask for advice, expect the call to last closer to an hour.
Small talk and passing conversations through the day are short, but a phone call with your parents is more than small talk. You’re both sharing what has happened recently, what you’re going through, and how you feel. You can’t work through that in ten minutes.
It’s also okay if a call with your parents goes longer than an hour. Maybe you get caught up talking about politics or the economy. Perhaps you simply enjoy chatting with your mom or dad; before you know it, two hours have passed. So long as your schedule allows for it, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Should You Talk to Your Parents Together?
It’s a good idea to talk to your parents simultaneously if your situation allows it. Then you don’t have to worry about making time for two separate calls, which can be stressful if you are in a busy season of life.
We know not everyone’s family format allows for this. Things like divorce, business travel, or different schedules will keep you from being able to talk to both of your parents at once. If this is the case for you, you’ll have to call them separately. While this isn’t ideal in terms of scheduling, it does ensure both parents get adequate space to talk with you.
That’s something to keep in mind if your parents are together and you can call them both at the same time. Your mom or dad might be the kind of person who dominates the conversation, which may leave your other parent feeling left out of the call.
You know your parents best. If this sounds like your mom or dad, it may be a good idea to call them separately, even though you can talk to them together.
The Benefits of Technology
Video calls, speaker phones, and three-way calls are good ways to have you and your parents in the same conversation. These technologies vastly increase communication abilities and are good options if you want to get both of your parents on the phone (or video) simultaneously.
Services like Facetime, Google Meet, Zoom, and Whatsapp allow video calling. This is highly preferred, particularly with pandemic restrictions, because you can see your parents face-to-face. Moreover, the body language and facial expressions visible on video calls help reinforce communication.
Speaker phones and three-way calls are your next viable option if a video call isn’t possible. The only difference between the two is that the speaker phone requires your parents to be in the same room using the same device. A three-way call enables all three of you to connect on the same call and talk to one another from your own device.
How you go about it is up to you, but it’s helpful to capitalize on the available technology if it saves you space on your schedule.
How Do Life Stages Affect Calling Your Parents?
Your stage of life and development causes significant gaps in your call schedule with your parents. Remember, this is entirely normal. Special events, such as moving out for the first time or moving in with a partner, create a scenario where you will have less time and energy for phone calls.
Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t talking to your parents as frequently as before. Life is rarely a smooth ride; as you transition into adulthood, you’ll face new struggles. These struggles will consume time and energy like never before, and there’s always an adjustment period when facing a unique circumstance.
This adjustment period is a prime time for phone calls to die down, and not just with your parents. For example, it’s common for young adults to create distance from their parents when they first move out (source).
These periods don’t last, and when you feel ready to take on your regular practices again, you can resume your normal call schedule with your parents. Try not to put undue pressure on yourself in the meantime.
How Should You Handle Adjustment Periods?
The best practice is to let your parents know when you are in an adjustment period. This isn’t always practical since life changes are often unexpected. However, if you recognize that you’re entering a life transition, let your parents know so they can adjust their expectations of phone call frequency.
It’s alarming to your parents if communication with you is excellent and regular, and then suddenly, they stop hearing from you for weeks at a time. A simple text is enough to let them know you are alive and well – just going through a difficult transition.
It’s even better if you can set this expectation in advance. This makes it easier for your parents to understand that they may not get to talk to you as often as they’re used to. It’s a simultaneous means of keeping the lines of communication open and removing pressure from you to maintain a call schedule that may be too much for this adjustment period.
Clear expectations are crucial for healthy relationships. Some say expectations kill relationships; however, it’s the uncommunicated expectations that cause problems. Express your expectations in a relationship so that everyone is clear on them.
However, this doesn’t mean you can dictate how a relationship runs. Every relationship is give and take. Just because you communicate your expectations does not mean they are fair or reasonable.
But, if you don’t present them at all, no one will know what they are, and you’ll often find yourself disappointed and hurt without knowing why.
Whether it’s a significant other, your parents, or a close friend, it’s always best to express your expectations and pave the way for further communication. Then, once they’re out in the open, both sides of the relationship can share their thoughts and feelings.
As long as your relationship with your parents is healthy, there is no universal standard for how often you should talk with them. This relationship is a two-way street, but you are years behind your parents in terms of life development, and it makes sense if you’re in a period where you call them less.
At the same time, it’s okay to stay in close touch like when you were younger. We said it before, and we’ll say it again: it depends on your relationship with your parents.