What Parents Say VS What They Actually Mean

Whether you’re moving out for the first or the fifteenth time, your parents will probably worry about how you’re doing and what you’re getting up to away from home – even though they might not say so directly! But don’t fret, our handy guide of common things parents say and what they actually mean will help you work out the true meaning behind their words. Do any of these ring a bell?

There are lots of other great articles on Student.com such as Which Countries Are Best For Getting A Job In After You’ve Studied There? so be sure to take a look around!


What parents say = above the image

What parents mean = below the image

1. Are you doing OK for money?

What parents say 11_money

Have you run out of money yet?

2. How are the people on your course?

What parents say 23_friends

Have you made any friends?

3. Are you eating well?

What parents say 10_eating

Have you used the pots and pans I bought you?

4. What are your flatmates like?

What parents say 24_untidy

Are your flatmates as untidy as you?

5. Have you settled in yet?

What parents say 2_visit

When can I come and visit?

6. Are you getting much sleep?


You look tired

7. You look well

What parents say 20_weight

You’ve put on weight

8. Well you have to make your own mistakes

What parents say 18_mistake

I told you so

9. Well, it is what it is

What parents say 12_can't help

I can’t help you (but I wish I could)

10. Do you think that’s a good idea?

What parents say 5_badidea

That’s a really bad idea, please don’t do that

11. If it makes you happy

What parents say 22_makes you happy

I know you’re going to do it anyway

12. How are your lectures going?

What parents say 21_lectures

Please tell me you are going to lectures

13. Have you called your siblings/grandparents/aunts/uncles lately?

What parents say 3_grandparents

Call your siblings/grandparents/aunts/uncles

14. I miss you

What parents say 19_miss you

I reeeeeeeeeeeeally miss you

15. Your course is very important

What parents say 6_cost

Do you know how much your course costs??

16. Hang on, your father wants to speak to you

What parents say 7_father

(Long pause) Your father doesn’t want to speak to you

17. What a lovely surprise to hear from you!

What parents say 15_surprise

Your calls are very infrequent

18. Have you met anyone nice?

What parents say 8_gossip

Give me all the juicy gossip on your love life

19. Oh that’s super! Very ‘cool’!

What parents say 1_cool

I don’t really know what you’re talking about

20. The dog really misses you

What parents say 14_dog

I really miss you

21. They’re putting a wonderful festival on in town!

What parents say 4_happy

Come home for the holidays?

22. Do you really want those posters?

What parents say 13_redecorating

We’re redecorating your room

Parents really do worry about EVERYTHING, especially if you’re studying abroad:

13 Worries All Parents Of International Students Have (And How To Deal With Them)

You’ll just have to reassure them that studying abroad is for the best:

How Studying Abroad Makes You Smarter, More Creative, Richer And Happier

And if these people did it, well, that speaks for itself:

15 Celebrities Who Were International Students