College Son I Go Check on Him or Wait for Him to Ask?

Updated on February 21, 2011
L.M. asks from Hartly, DE
16 answers

My son is a 19 yr old college sophmore attending school about 2.5-3 hours away. We got a call from him at 6:30 am letting us know he was at campus security and had been robbed in the early morning hours. He is fine but out almost all the money he had (for food and necessities this semester) and just shook up. The mom in me has not allowed me to go back to sleep (my hubby and 4yr old don't have that problem) and I am wondering if I should make the trip to see that he is ok for myself and just be there for him.

My son is now back in his dorm room w/ one suspect in custody (the one my son didn't recognize is still on the loose and the one they have in custody isn't talking). He is now trying to get some sleep too but "will let me know when he wakes up if he needs us".

I know I will get more questions about what happened...he walked home from a friends house alone (even though one of his roomates was there too). Immediately after walking in, someone knocked on the door, he cracked the door without looking who it was and they barged in with knives. Not sure of the details other than they pushed until he told them where his money was.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the replies. To update and clarify...He does have a local bank account but since he is out of state there are constant charges from both his and out bank if he uses the debit card at an ATM so he has been keeping his expense money in his apartment style dorm and very little on his person for safety reasons. That will change going forward but hindsight is always 20/20. Just to clarify, he called us from the security office notifying us and then again when he was back at his apartment to talk to me a minute. They forced their way in after he opened it a crack so no locks need to be changed and since his wallet was not touched, he doesn't have all the other ID theft issues to worry about. I went against my "mom instinct" that said to go to him. I decided to talk to him again first. He called me and we talked. I asked him if he wanted or needed us to come up and stated we were more than willing. He said "No. I have to finish my statements before the security officers from last night came back on duty at 10 pm tonight and have a lot of assignments due to tomorrow that I need to work on anyway". Sounded like he wouldn't mind but felt it would be a wasted trip. I told him call me if he changes his mind and we will be right there. Reminded him that a bad as it was/is, he is safe and that is ALL the really matters and we love him...he assured me he was not hurt and they took nothing but his stash of money...not his wallet or ANYTHING else. He was definately shook up. I should mention that our home was once broken into while we were away from home and he was in elementary school so it is not completely new.

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answers from Orlando on

Here's what I would say to him. "I really,really want to come there & see you & give you a great big hug & see for myself that you are ok. However, if you tell me that you don't want me to come I will respect that..."

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from New York on

Oh, that is so scary! I'm so sorry that happened. And my sympathies to you, too, mama, for all the stress you're under right now.

For right now, though, I wouldn't head over until you clear that with him. If you don't hear back from him by late morning, you can try calling yourself, and even call his RA if you don't hear back within a reasonable time frame. But after an experience in which your son's personal space was seriously violated, and in which something that was rightfully his was taken, the first thing he's going to need *back* is his ability to call the shots.

When I think back to my younger self -- my college self -- I really valued my newfound independence, and my sense of privacy and dignity. After a traumatic experience, I think I would've prized those things even more highly, and the presence of a comforting person who made me feel younger (aka a mom) would've made my independence/privacy/dignity feel a lot less intact.

However, I think there are a whole lot of things I think you can and should do NOW.

1. Money. Your son is going to need his money back, ASAP. Not easy probably, when you're paying tuition, but for both emotional and practical reasons, he's going to need that money back in his back account now.

2. Speaking of which, bank account. If he didn't have a bank account before, he's going to need a gentle but slightly tough talking-to about how you wish he didn't have to learn the hard way not to keep all his money on his person, but he's going to need to set up an account as soon as it's humanly possible.

3. Speaking of which, ID. Assuming his driver's license and other ID were stolen, there are a million and one un-fun bureaucratic hurdles to getting them restored. And who better to take care of 90% of that than the person who not only loves him the most in the world but also probably has his birth certificate and possible his passport on hand. He, and his GPA, will probably be incredibly grateful.

4. Speaking of which, identify theft. A huge risk, and probably a bigger draw for robbers than cash. While you're stressed and can't sleep, you can do all kinds of research on how to prevent identity theft after a robbery, and do as much of this as you can *for* him. Again, his GPA will thank you.

5. The mother of all care packages. If he doesn't want you to come out, you can try sending him something. His favorite foods. A gift you know he'll love. Christmas in February, to the extent you can afford it while restoring all his cash. That can be very comforting, but it'll let him maintain his sense of dignity, independence, etc.

I hope this helps,


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

Every mom wants to rush to the side of their child but he is an adult and did let you know what happened to him. I like what Miranda had to say. I work with college students daily at work (a university) and they have crisis(es) daily for something. Many go unreported but they learn from the experience.

If you do go unannounced that doesn't make the situation any better in his eyes or the eyes of fellow students that mommy has to come and make it better. Because there will be a time that mommy can't come and make it better. You have to hope and pray that you have planted the needed values of life in your child and let them learn and sometimes it is the hard reality that sinks in better. Yes he is upset as anyone would/should be but he is dealing with this.

Do send him a big care package. Can you open an account for him where you can deposit money in the account from where you live so that this doesn't happen again? That might be the best thing. It's one where you put it in but you can't take it out.

He will be alright and so will you.

The other S.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Victoria on

I would go, mainly cause i would want to see his face when he talked to see how he really was about it all. i would take him for coffee and instsead of being the motherly hen, which he won't like, i would be more like, welcome to the real world and you did great cause you survived! I 'd talked about how hard it is to be an adult and just let him vent. Ask how you can help and just be there to support him and let him know he isn't alone, but then leave him to it to work out on his own....he learned a life lesson and thankfully it just cost him some cash.... So sorry this happened but hopefully he will learn from this ordeal and possibly be better prepared to prevent them in the future.

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answers from Austin on

Nope, do not dash to see him.. He is a man now and he will want to speak with you and he MAY want to see you, but give him the option.. Instead text him and let him know they called you and you want him to call you.

Thank goodness he is ok physically. This could happen to anyone.. It is a learning lesson (I am going to send this to our daughter up at college) for all of us.

Make sure to send him a great care package and some money.
I am sending you a virtual hug.

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answers from Colorado Springs on

I'm with the others! I'd want to go right this minute, but I'd ask first. He needs to feel (and to appear to others) like an adult, not a kid mama needs to rescue, and he also needs to get right back to his studying.

If he calls you back, ask him as many questions as you want - curious questions, not angry questions (except to be angry at the robbers). Tell him you'd like to come down there - as you so aptly say, just to make sure for yourself that he is OK - and see what he says. If he invites you, ask him when it would be convenient for him. Meanwhile Miranda has given you an admirable list of things to do and to think about.

College education: it's always a surprise what you'll learn.

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answers from Washington DC on

I would touch base if you don't hear from him in about a day. Give him time to call you and/or process what happened, but also let him know, "Hey, we were just thinking about you. How are you?" It's one thing to come home and find that you were robbed. It's another to have a home invasion. I wouldn't go rushing up there, but I would touch base. I also like a lot of Mira's suggestions. We don't do everything FOR our college student (if we felt we had to hover, he shouldn't be in college) but we can help by doing things like reminding him "Hey, you might want to check this out re: ID Theft."

Even though my stepson has a bank account, I could see him having more on-hand than he probably should. Sometimes they just don't think that clearly.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

You might want to talk to him face to face just to make certain he's okay. Does he have a webcam? He's 19 and an adult, it might seem weird for mom to come.... and he did say he'd let you know. In the meantime get a box of goodies ready to send him, he's obviously gonna need some care packages.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Speaking from a mom perspective.. no matter how old, he IS still your son and just because he is older, doesn't mean those mom feelings go away.. I personally would need to see my son in person and hug him.. I don't care if he's 19 or 50.. I would need that.. I think it sounds like you do too for peace of mind? you could arrange a visit. Also, I want to add.. without bringing more fear to this but rather to broader the scope of things, I think when a person experiences trauma such as this, it isn't just about what was taken materially.... this was a possible life threatening situation (as they had knives) and too, in a person's living space.. when someone is attacked or victimized within THEIR comfort-zone such as a home, I somehow think that can make trauma worse. it's because you don't expect that to happen in your own home. Therefore, I truly stress that for your sake and your sons' go ahead and visit him.. Now you know you need to see him and even though he may not realize he needs the support, I still think it's important for him to have someone there from his family to say, hey I love you.. i am so glad you are safe... it's reassuring to have loved ones around. Also, while I haven't been robbed, I have been violated in other ways where trauma has left an imprint and I def could have used a loved one around me to say, I love you... glad you are ok...

I wish you and your family all the best

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

He's 19, and this is his second year away from home - ask him what he wants before doing anything. He said that he'll let you know if he needs anything.

Then, why in the world did he have that much cash in college housing?? Sorry if this sounds harsh, but I've raised two kids to 28 and 26 now. I'd give him a day or so to deal with the police and to get over the shock, then I'd ask him how he intends to help replace this money AND make sure this doesn't happen again (like a bank account??).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Ask if he wants you or not. If you visit, you are going to have to leave again sooner or later, and that could be rough, too. Also, there should be some campus counseling he should be going to. Being robbed at any age is something that will shake you up and it's going to take awhile for him to recover.
On the one hand, he was only robbed of money (and stuff?). That's bad enough, but stuff can be replaced. He wasn't injured, maimed or killed - and really that's the bright side, although he's not going to see that right away.
If he can get involved with campus security and become aware of security problems (and their solutions), he will feel a bit more in control. This is tough to get through, but he'll get through it. It could have been much worse.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

Coming back to your room and finding out your money is gone along with a laptop and your favorite sunglasses is bad enough-being stormed upon at knifepoint is another. I would go see him and I would encourage him to use the campus resources available with respect to getting counseling-I would ask that he be proactive about getting help now to ensure that there is no problem later. He is smart to give up the cash-it may have saved his life.



answers from Washington DC on

I would go pick him up and take him out for lunch or dinner and give him a check to replace the money. Robbed knifepoint is no small thing and of course, he's going to play it down because he's a big guy and doesn't want to sound like he needs his Mom. So, if I were you I would go, but try to be cool -- not smother him with worry or fuss over him -- as hard as that is going to be.



answers from Youngstown on

I think I would go. Why not drive there, give him a hug, take him grocery shopping and take him some money. He must be really shaken up. Buy him a chain lock for his door.

Good luck to you and your son!



answers from Washington DC on

That's a hard one. I would already be on the road to him lol, most likely. Its hard w/ men, he may really want you there but not want to seem weak or a mama's boy, so won't say anything. I don't think, if you showed up he would be mad at you though. Why not drive up there, take him to get something to eat, discuss safety in person with him, arrange a better way for keep him money and just check base w/the police. That way he knows you have his back. Sometimes, no matter how old we get, all we need to make us feel better is a hug from our mom. Good Luck.



answers from Boston on

All the answers below about visiting him sound great. I would also want to be in touch with both the police and officials at the school since this happened on SCHOOL PROPERTY. He has the right to expect security in his dorm, and if not for giving him hugs he will need guidance on getting the correct response from officials. They may want to sweep it under the rug to keep their security records nice for future parents. I would ask security and campus police or local real police (campus police are usually just security guards) about the statistics of crime on campus, how he can best keep himself safe, why there is not peep hole in the doors, were there security cameras in the halls, how are the doors to the dorms secured, will keys be changed now, does the school have theft insurance since it happened IN HIS DORM, etc. etc. Go offer lawyer-type advice, if not motherly love.

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