What can I as a teenager do about my insanely strict parents?

137

17

Before I start this, I just want to let everyone know that even though my parents can be completely clueless about parenting at times, I still love them very much, so don't go commenting that I'm "ungrateful" or whatever.

My parents are just really strict about everything. I'm 15 years old, a sophomore in high school, and I'm basically not allowed to do anything. I don't have a phone (and therefore no social media or Internet) and my parents refuse to buy me one (we can afford one quite well though) even though every single person in my high school has one, and has had one since they were 12 or 13.

I'm also not allowed to date and if my parents (especially my dad) ever see me talking to a guy they immediately interrogate me about who he is, what we were talking about, and then they remind me that I'm not allowed to date until I'm in college, and sometimes I feel like I can't ever talk to a guy without my parents sticking their noses into it.

Yet another thing I am denied is to hang out with friends. I am allowed to have friends but my parents never let me go out with them without parent supervision. I can't have birthday parties either, or sleepovers, or "girls' day outs". I can't wear makeup either (also not until I'm in college) and I can't wear tank tops, crop tops, shorts, or anything else like that.

I really don't know what to do anymore, I just don't think that I can live like this any longer. I've tried asking my parents to be a little less strict but they keep saying no. I am very responsible and mature, so it's not because of that. I know they have the best intentions for me but sometimes I think they're just taking it too far. For example, whenever I ask my dad if I can have a phone, he laughs in my face and says "Well there's the joke of the day!" or something along those lines. I also have to go to bed at 9:00 EVERY DAY, weekdays, weekends, and even during the summer! They don't allow me to stay up EVER, even if I have homework that I need to finish they say "Whatever, go to bed!" sometimes causing me to have to turn in assignments late. My bedtime is really just way too early and every day I just lie awake in bed and I don't fall asleep till like 11:00.

If there's any research out there that could help change their minds, I'd really appreciate it, really just anything that could help me convince my parents, so thanks for reading!

Sasha

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 625

70Are you in the US ? Which place are your parents from ? Parenting styles vary with culture/tradition so you may get more relevant answers when we know the context – svj – 2018-01-29T03:33:34.267

14What reason do they give for no birthday party? – Dan Clarke – 2018-01-29T04:36:44.980

7When you say you don't have a phone, do you mean you have no phone or no smart phone? It is still possible to have a phone without internet access. – jpmc26 – 2018-01-29T09:00:44.520

1Do you have any siblings ? – Evargalo – 2018-01-29T09:27:14.343

15You have my sympathies. It might be useful if you could let us know what reasons are given for this level of strictness. If, for example, these restrictions are placed on you for religious reasons, it could radically alter the "best" way to try and get them relaxed. – Matt Thrower – 2018-01-29T11:55:46.137

36Question: Do your parents themselves have phones? Do they use social media? Are these things they know, or only hear scary stories about on the news? (PS - I had a ton of those rules as a teenager too, independent adulthood was well worth the wait) – McCann – 2018-01-29T14:26:25.283

4Comments aren't for answers. Y'all know that. Answers and rude comments will be removed. – anongoodnurse – 2018-01-29T18:39:03.247

4Why are your parents treating you this way? We can give lots of general purpose advise, but in situations like this, it's very important to understand what the parents believe they are getting out of their actions. Then you can start to demonstrate why those actions are not necessary. – Cort Ammon – 2018-01-29T18:46:29.067

I'd like to answer, but it would help to understand a couple of things.

  1. Would your parents object to you being out of the house for "official" reasons, such as working a part-time job or participating in school-related clubs and sports?
  2. Do you know of any other motivations at play—for example, are they especially religious or unsociable in general?
  3. < – Jordan Gray – 2018-02-02T16:06:32.647

4(As a follow-up to this: extracurricular activities are very, very important to US college applications; would this change their answer to 1?) – Jordan Gray – 2018-02-02T16:09:53.490

Answers

233

Sit them down for a big, honest conversation. Don't make it about what you want, though. Make it about what they want, and especially ask them, honestly, how they think what they are doing right now is preparing you for your adult life. Ask them how they think you'll be able to handle the adult life when you head out to college with zero prep. Ask them what they think will happen when you are free to go out and hang out with whomever you want at college but you have zero experience to tell apart the nice guys and the dangeous guys. What happens when you suddenly have uncontrolled access to the internet when you've never used it before.

Clearly, they are worried about these things. But they have about 3 more years in which they can shield you, and then they will be letting you go into the world with zero preparation. Ask them honestly what they think will happen. If they claim that they are raising you to resist these temptations, remind them that you aren't being raised, you are being forced, and you aren't given any opportunities to learn for yourself. Remind them that you disagree with their stance, and the only reason you're behaving as they want is because they make you, and that you won't behave the same way as soon as their oversight is gone.

And remind them that young people screw up a lot while figuring out how life works. The smaller the situation, the smaller the danger. Right now, if you hang out with friends or on a date, they'll be nearby to come pick you up if anything is wrong. (If they give you a phone, anyway). If you're in college, far away from them, you'll be on your own. The only thing that'll protect you there, is your experiences growing up.

Worst situation, remind them that you will be free to go even if they don't want you to when you turn 18. Since this sounds like a threat, you'll want to avoid it if at all possible, but if they don't realize it, it might help to point it out.

And finally; if the above makes it sound like you'll be in a really hard position when you leave for college, well, you will be. Don't let it deter you, though. Life requires a lot of experience, including a bunch of bad ones, and you'll have a lot of catching up to do... but you need to do it someday. The earlier the better.

Erik

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 7 922

41Try this first Sasha. It is extremely good advice. If it doesn't work, then try my more subtle plan a few months later. – Dan Clarke – 2018-01-29T06:53:46.673

6Please don't forget what the point of comments are for. Speculation as to what the parents do and do not know is just that: speculation. If you want to clarify, ask the OP for more information under the question.Thanks! – anongoodnurse – 2018-01-29T18:41:30.967

The OP's parents are already acting on the belief that the best thing for their daughter is to prevent her from making any mistakes and that teaching her about the dangers and problems is unimportant. So a conversation where a teenager, of whom they are dismissive and who hasn't experienced what you're saying, tries to defend these points is unlikely to change them. I also think this answer misses that the OP does not seem to really on board with taking responsibility yet; rather, the OP's post leaves me with the impression she just wants to do things because they think it will be fun. – jpmc26 – 2018-01-29T21:14:10.203

8@jpmc26 the goal isn't to defend or convince. The goal is to get the parents to talk, honestly, about how they are preparing her for life. It'll be educational, either for the parents or the teenager, or both. – Erik – 2018-01-29T21:32:22.300

2@Sasha Maybe you can show this very webpage to your parents. There is a lot of wisdom here as to why helicopter parents ultimately work towards the opposite of what they're trying to do. – Alex – 2018-02-01T14:44:19.067

@Erik (Not sure why a number of comments were very selectively deleted, but I think the rebuttal to your response is important.) I don't think your answer as written will accomplish the goal of getting anyone to talk. Since it consists solely of criticism of the parents' behavior, it's far more likely to make the OP feel self-righteous in approaching her parents. This is extraordinarily counterproductive. Your answer would be much improved by taking a more balanced approach, talking about what the OP can change and coming to an understanding with her parents. – jpmc26 – 2018-02-06T02:20:39.247

1If the OP is in the UK ("sophomore" makes that unlikely), she does have the nuclear option of leaving home at 16. I considered it a few times but always decided not to (that was more than 40 years ago now). – Martin Bonner – 2018-02-06T17:21:39.943

I really like many ideas and argumentation in this and some of next answers. I don't know how good you feel about talking to them directly, but I think that a good first step could be for you to write a long letter, using this thread and your own thoughts about how you feel, then give it to your parents to read. After they read all your argumentation, without cutting in and not letting you finish something, as it sometimes happens in direct conversation, then you all could actually sit down and talk it further. They will be able to think about this first and maybe understand you better. – Kusavil – 2018-02-07T00:03:12.750

64

OK, this may take some time but it could get you a bit of freedom.

Tell your parents that you want to get a job when you turn 16. Use several excuses like, "I want to save up for college," "To get a job in college it will help if I have some experience," "When I'm at college I'll be pretty far away, I'll need some savings to come back home during vacations," whatever you think will work.

This will look like a mature decision and show you're concerned with the future.

Once you get that, you will obviously need a phone to call them if something goes wrong while at work. Also if you have to take a bus or walk to work, do they really want you to lose your job because you couldn't call and tell your boss there was a traffic accident and you'll be ten minutes late? That would look horrible at a future interview.

Now if you can manage that, when you get the job you can ask to work the evening shift. It would be a waste of time to head home only to head back out immediately, when would you have time to eat or do your homework? It would make much more sense to be with some friends, who your parents know, to do homework at the school or a nearby library, and to eat with them somewhere close to your job.

Once you get your foot in the door, keep gently pushing to widen it a bit more.

Now about the bedtime, get a note from your teachers stating that your homework is not being completed on time. After your parents demand to know why this is happening, explain that you sometimes need a bit more time to finish it, but having to go to bed at 9pm stops you from doing it.

Really hope this helps.

Edit All right, some people brought up good points in the comments and I don't have room down there to respond, so lets go over them.

The phone:

Concerning using a landline at work, that is an option. Which is why I said that the cellphone could be used on the way to and from work. What if she gets stuck at the bus stop, or is held up for some reason, having a basic phone is a good idea. And if she does lose her job because she was delayed and couldn't let her boss know, being fired is a black mark in future interviews. She can either not put it on the future college job resume in which case she's starting from scratch, or she has to go in with a potential employer knowing she got fired from a McJob. Neither one is a great option.

Honestly, my first thought at reading the problem was to tell Sasha to ask for a cheap flip phone, one that could only send basic text messages and couldn't go on the internet. However, then I read this,

For example, whenever I ask my dad if I can have a phone, he laughs in my face and says "Well there's the joke of the day!" So that is obviously not an option.

This is all about getting a chance to start a discussion, rather than getting shot down before the discussion even begins. Maybe after she has a basic phone for a while, paid for with her own money and used responsibly, she can upgrade, but that has to wait until she is actually given a chance to show the responsibility.

Eroding Trust

So my scheme definitely has an ulterior motive, but I'd hardly call it a bad one or even a real secret. Getting a job is a good way to learn responsibility, if it gives her a tiny bit of freedom that's a side benefit for her. At most it would be three or four hours a week between school and work to do things with her friends, like homework. She won't be going off to parties or wandering around bars at night. The phone would help her parents check up on her while she is out. The most secretive and rebellious part of my idea is Sasha trying to get her hours set up so that she has the free time.

Also I did say this would take time, it wouldn't be done all at once. First she has to convince her parents to let her get a job, which will be a few months to a year away, then when it appears likely she'll get one she can ask about the phone. It won't exactly be a big secret that she wants more responsibility and freedom, but it's hardly trying sneak around her parents back. If that would erode the parents trust, frankly there was no trust there to begin with. And looking at what Sasha posted, her parents have zero trust in her anyways. If they lose a little more because she wasn't 100% open with her reasons for wanting a job, what will they do, send her to bed at 8pm?

I really hope Sasha tries Eriks method first and that it gets through to her parents. However if it doesn't work, than she has three choices, sit back and do nothing, which will most likely develop into resenting and even hating her parents (I've seen it happen all too often with overbearing parents of students I taught in the past), rebel and stop caring what her parents think (NOT a good option), or pushing gently but steadily for a bit more freedom.

Dan Clarke

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 1 216

Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.

– Rory Alsop – 2018-02-02T19:06:55.307

1I think this is the best answer. The line "Well there's the joke of the day!" clearly shows that her parents are not taking her seriously. You mention "eroding trust" -- but her parents obviously don't trust her, so there's no trust to erode. – Marjeta – 2018-02-08T02:38:27.600

46

I really don't know what to do anymore, I just don't think that I can live like this any longer.

First of all, I want to assure you that you most certainly can live like this, even though it might not be easy. While staying in touch with limited (or no) access to social media is more difficult than it once was, it doesn't make having friends impossible. (As demonstrated by the fact you have them! =) ) You can definitely live with parental supervision when you're with your friends. Not being able to date or socialize with boys is tough, but not the end of the world. And dressing in styles of clothes designed to accentuate your body for viewing by other people is something you will survive without as well; the same can be said for makeup. I understand it doesn't seem like the most fun you could be having right now, that it looks like your friends are really enjoying doing these things now, and that a couple things your parents are doing aren't a good way to prepare you for adulthood, but abstaining from these things won't kill you.

(By the way, it's clear you have some access to the internet to be asking this question. ;) So you're not totally isolated from it. Do you also have social media, just without mobile access?)

Part of the reason I start with this is because it's important for you to realize that it's possible for you to go through this and come out okay. The other part is because your attitude toward these issues is likely contributing to the problem. You view your parents' rules as just rules without meaning. This is evidenced in the title of this very question, where you call them "insanely strict." To some degree, this perception represents a failure on your parents' part to communicate and to teach you. But in spite of their failure on this front, step one is that you need to realize that the rules they are placing you under do have meaning. The fact you do not realize this yet suggests that you are not as mature as you think you are. That's okay; you're a teenager. This is the part of your life where you're supposed to be learning how to be mature.

So before you try to change your parents, you need to change yourself. Start with your attitude towards these rules. Ask yourself, "Why are my parents imposing these rules?" And if you can't figure out the answer, then that's a great place to start: ask your parents why these rules exist. Don't ask it in a way that suggests the rules don't make any sense; ask them seriously, wanting a real answer. Don't try to use the fact they haven't taught you the reasons as ammunition against them, either. Ask to find out what the goals of the rules are. Ask what habits they're trying to help you form. Ask what threats they're trying to protect you from. Ask what values they want to impart to you. Taking an active role in understanding their methods is a good first step toward real maturity. And if your parents don't give you a satisfactory answer, that's okay. Parents aren't perfect either, and a failure to answer here doesn't automatically mean the rules or their views are wrong. Like you say, you're grateful for what they've done for you, so trust them, in spite of their imperfections. Be glad they tried to answer at all, and if you still don't understand, it's okay to keep trying to understand. After you've sought out some of these answers, you'll be in a better position to solve the problem.

  • If you have successes in getting answers, one thing you can do is to try to get them to have more open discussions about their decisions. If they talk more openly with you about the way they think about things, this will help you communicate about how you see things differently and why. Doing so might help both you and them understand you and your feelings better. For example, maybe they don't give you a smart phone because they are afraid you'll become addicted to it. (Not saying you would, but there are risks to having constant access to social media.) If you understand this, then you can talk about why you don't think addiction is a risk for you.
  • A second thing is to try to show them that their methods aren't helping you mature. This is going to be hard. It requires having some understanding or at least a guess about their methods, and it requires a brutally honest view of yourself and your shortcomings. Don't frame it in terms of not being able to do what you want. Frame it in terms of not acquiring skills and experience you need. The phone example is another good one. By depriving you of it completely, you're not learning to handle the phone responsibly now. This means the risks are greater when you move out on your own and get one with your own money. By contrast, if you have one now, you can get used to putting it away at a certain time every night.
  • By taking this approach, you'll be demonstrating that you are trustworthy and that you are not looking to abuse the privileges you are asking for. This could make them more open to loosening some of the the restrictions they place on you. If they don't feel like they need to restrict you from doing things, they're much more likely not to.

Ultimately, the answer is for your parents' and your goals to align: they want you to mature into a competent, secure, capable, level-headed adult, and that needs to be central to your own goals as well. It isn't about doing all the things you think might be fun. It's about becoming the best person you can be. And that means you're going to have to bend on some things, and it means your parents should bend on some things.

If they just stonewall you on this, then they've really just left you on your own. No matter how hard they try with this approach, it's not going to prepare you for the rest of your life. So you're going to need to work on doing that by yourself. In particular, there's a significant risk that you will find yourself misusing these sorts of privileges (to your own detriment) when you're no longer living at home and beholden to these rules. That doesn't mean you need to rebel now, but it does mean you will need to find a way to mitigate the risks of behaviors on your own when you get older. But dealing with that is a significantly different question. Start with what I've suggested here.

jpmc26

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 667

18While I 100% agree with the bolded part ("ask your parents why these rules exist") as the core solution, my opinion on the first part does differ significantly. My teenage years happened almost two decades ago and even though social media was a lot less emphasized back then, I was still left out of many events organized by my classmates and friends due to similar constraints on my having a phone (no smartphones back then) and no internet access at home. This led to an uncontrolled bounce when I got in to college and was free from all restrictions, something my parents definitely not intended. – zovits – 2018-01-29T13:22:47.967

3@zovits I agree that the OP's parental strategy is not a good one and carries enormous risks for the OP. My point is that the OP is literally able to survive it and that it's possible for them to mature anyway. That of course doesn't mean it won't be more difficult; if they do so, it will be more in spite of their parents' strategy than because of it. – jpmc26 – 2018-01-29T18:55:10.160

That's a rare quality that started appearing just very recently. – Tomáš Zato – 2018-01-30T16:31:30.437

1

@TomášZato Not really. The idea of imparting understanding of the rules is as old as Deuteronomy 11 (see especially v19).

– jpmc26 – 2018-01-30T20:16:02.540

1@Agent_L Even if I accepted your premise, as someone who still has trouble fitting in anywhere, I can assure you that being an outcast is not a fatal condition, even if it is an unpleasant one. – jpmc26 – 2018-01-30T20:24:13.290

6@jpmc26 Yeah. I know it from first hand experience. From 20 years of hindsight, accepting it doesn't seem like a big deal. But I do actually remember how it felt when I was a kid like OP. It was petrifying. Humans are social beings. In progressive countries it's illegal to keep single specimen of a social species like parakeet, why should humans be treated worse? Sure, there are successful hermits, but it doesn't mean that somebody should be forced into hermit's life. – Agent_L – 2018-01-31T08:46:05.687

4@jpmc26 While true that social media is new and kids have gotten along without it, back then nobody had social media. Imagine being the 1 kid in school who doesn't have it? Conversations about things shared on facebook etc would be completely lost on you. Socializing this way would be very hard. – Childishforlife – 2018-01-31T16:15:47.607

5I am really not okay with your answer. you degrade the problems of the OP and I am not sure you understood what a teenager needs to learn socially. teenagers need to: rebel, fit in, experience their sexuality/the impression they make on others, make faults and learn from them, argue, compromise, learn to take responsibility, sort their many feelings, come to clue who they want to be as an adult. what the OPs parents do is prevent their teenager becoming an adult by not giving freedom to grow and the OP feels trapped and you won't acknowledge the OPs feelings. – user0110111 – 2018-02-01T08:44:10.173

3@sanyooh One of the wisest sentences I've ever heard uttered: "Feelings are real, but they aren't the truth." I acknowledge the OP's feelings, and I acknowledged the potential for hindering the OP's development explicitly. What I've put forward is a potential strategy to overcome that impediment and to mature in spite of it. I also explicitly acknowledged that if it fails, the OP needs to do something else. I also strongly disagree that teenagers need to rebel or "experience their sexuality" (outside of marriage) to grow. There is good reason to believe those are harmful. – jpmc26 – 2018-02-01T09:08:20.427

This is the most correct answer, and is far superior to the two more upvoted answers. – Ben Collins – 2018-02-02T22:13:21.803

36

I am you 25 years ago. There was no social media at the time, but I recognized myself in that I was not allowed to be with my friends without supervision, no dating until marriage (I always wondered how I was going to get a husband without boyfriends, but this logic was lost in my family) and having to turn off the lights before 10pm. There were many other things.

My advice is get counseling. Not matter what the other answers told you, the fact that you can't talk to your parents/they are not willing to listen is hurting you and leaving scars that only counseling can cure. You are not going 'just to get over it' or 'just live like this'. You need to know what's happening to you is not normal, that you are not spoiled brat asking for silly things. If you can get somebody specialized in trauma, try to get their help.

In my case, my parents are not 'normal'. Probably they have personality disorders. Their rules were only for me, not my brother. They were related to my being female, so he escaped. My wounds were so extreme that I ended in an abusive relationship with somebody that couldn't hear me either. I wish with all my might this is not the case for you, but as soon as you can, now or once in college, get counseling. Please.

LightOrb

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 385

6Perhaps its not OK, but I know from kids I interacted with at church it was perfectly normal (if unusual) back in the 80's when I was a kid, and I hear at least bits of this out of other parents today. I understand in rural areas around here its even fairly common. – T.E.D. – 2018-01-30T16:56:42.473

1Asking for counselling is definitely a good advice. However, you fall into the trap of projecting your own trauma onto her. As @T.E.D. said, this is actually normal in many societies. – Hosam Aly – 2018-02-01T07:56:36.773

6The fact that there appear to be no other children in the school with similarly strict parents indicates to me that this is not normal in OP's society. I fully support getting help - either from the school or from external counseling, if the first is no option. – xLeitix – 2018-02-01T15:48:23.313

6And yes, this includes if the parents are religious. Being religious does not justify ruining your daughter's childhood or life, although it may (unfortunately) limit what can be done about it. – xLeitix – 2018-02-01T15:49:43.167

12

It sounds like you're an only child, and your parents are very concerned for your welfare. There are negligent parents out there, who don't give a sh*t about their children and think only of themselves. Things could be worse... But your parents sound as if they were brought up in the Victorian era. Maybe that's the way they were brought up. Ask them. Find out. At least you'll begin to understand why they behaving this way.

In this difficult and stifling situation, you're fortunate that they even allow you to attend high school, it may seem a meagre solace but in light of very recent events, it's important not to wallow in self-pity. You are not helpless, you can take action, and you make positive changes in your lifestyle. In three years' time, you will officially be an adult, and you will have graduated from high school, your horizons will be broader.

Anyway, in your shoes this is what I would start to do:

Smartphones

  • Do both your parents work outside of home? Do they use a computer, and the Internet for work? Would they be able to hold onto their jobs without a computer or a smartphone?

Ask them would they still be working if they couldn't or didn't know how to use a computer at all? If, however, you do have access to the Internet on a home computer, which you use for doing assignments, then forget about this approach. Having access to the Internet on the home computer is like having a smartphone today.

Instead, talk to your friends on the landline, write proper letters to them and post them using the snail mail (this actually sounds nerdy). The art of handwritten letter, especially with an ink pen, is a beautiful hobby to cultivate, you might really enjoy it.

While phone calls and text messages are easy ways of letting someone know you're thinking of them, there is magic in the permanence of a physical, handwritten note.

See also 10 reasons you should write handwritten letters

Toepher says by making a habit of writing thoughtful letters of gratitude, “you’ll feel happier, you’ll feel more satisfied, and if you’re suffering from depressive symptoms, your symptoms will decrease.”

Bedtime

  • Do your parents go to bed at 22:00 (10 pm)?

If they go to bed at 23:00 or later, it is much easier to point out the hypocrisy. In the summer, and on holidays I would expect the OP's parents to go to bed later. Do they never go out for a walk in the warm summer evenings? Do they never eat out at night as a family?

BUT if they always go to bed at 22:00, and some people do, then trash the idea of convincing them to allow you to stay up later. Instead, wake up earlier. It takes a bit of getting used to, but assignments must be completed and handed in on time. Going to a teacher and telling them your parents demand that you go to bed at 21:00 is not a demeanor or an act of cruelty, even though you may perceive this to be.

  • What can you do to overcome this irrational curfew?

    Wake up at 05:00 and do your assignments before going to school. No assignments? Go out jogging, do a couple of sprints around the block. Ride your bike, get some healthy morning exercise, slim those thighs, build up your physical resistance.

  • Is it forbidden to leave the house before or at 06:00 too?

Then take up meditation, do yoga, listen to CDs and follow a course of stretching and relaxation exercises within the comfort of your own home. Read at least two chapters from any Charles Dickens novel. Wake up really early, do some house chores, make a "little bit" of noise. If your parents ask why you're up, tell them you slept your eight hours quota and you cannot sleep anymore. You're a teenager and you have energy to burn!

Boyfriends

This is much more difficult to resolve. The only thing I can say is please, please do not see anyone behind your parents' back. When they find out, and parents nearly always do, the sense of betrayal they will experience will justify any punishment they might deal out. You don't want that, do you?

I'd also say that dating boys at 15 is still a little too early, there is no rush, time is on your side, you'll be dating at 17 (with luck) or at 19 when you leave home for college. So focus on your studies and getting the best grades ever.

With tenacity and self-belief by the time you reach 17 your parents should have come to terms that you are becoming more independent, stronger, fitter, with great friends, and with great grades. With all that behind you, how can they deny you a sleepover at a friend's?

Be consistent in this new lifestyle, don't expect your parents to modify their views overnight. Adapt to your environment is the keyword. You will come through.

Mari-Lou A

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 346

2Not even wrong. – Carl Witthoft – 2018-01-29T18:20:31.343

5@IllusiveBrian Not if you fall asleep at 9 pm, and if the OP does wake up at 05:00, which many of our grandparents and great-grandparents used to do, especially farm workers, she will want to sleep at 21:00/30. If she can't wake up at 05:00 she can wake up at 06:00 and finish her homework. It's a solution, it's feasible, and, more importantly, her parents will find it difficult to protest. – Mari-Lou A – 2018-01-29T18:51:23.670

1I don't think a lot of teens are open to the idea of snail mailing with a classmate. The world moves way too fast for that these days. You might be able to get a long distance pen pal, though. – Erik – 2018-01-29T21:45:08.070

1@Mari-LouA - OP goes to bed at 9, but doesn't fall asleep until 11. Waking up at 5 or 6 would likely mean she wouldn't get enough sleep. – AndyT – 2018-01-30T11:19:31.377

3@AndyT When it becomes a routine, going to bed early and waking up early will be second nature. In Italy lessons begin at 08:10, students sometimes have to take the train to get to their high school because in their fishing or mountain village the one highschool present (if there is one) doesn't teach the subjects they are most interested in. These 12-year-olds wake up at/before 6 o'clock, six days a week, on Saturday many schools are open, for the next six or seven years. – Mari-Lou A – 2018-01-30T11:35:21.470

1Instead of traveling for over an hour, the OP can finish her homework in the morning. If her parents are already up, she won't disturb them but.... if they sleep at that hour they might think twice about sending her to bed at 21:00. It's a feasible solution. Not everyone needs to sleep ten-twelve hours a day – Mari-Lou A – 2018-01-30T11:39:09.683

@AndyT if she starts waking up at 5 or 6, she may not get enough sleep for a day or two, but it'll make it much easier to go to sleep at 9. Sleep patterns for us teenagers are pretty easy to change (even if it doesn't feel great the first day :)) – Cullub – 2018-01-30T17:48:24.607

I agree with some points but not others. I agree with the use of landlines, internet and the advice about waking up early. Handwritten mail seems like a bit of a stretch. Also, based on the OP's description I suspect that the answer to whether or not the parents stay up late, go out for family meals or go for 'late night summer strolls' is almost certainly 'no' to all. I won't address the fitness, yoga or reading because I know I'd be to biased to make a fair judgement about them. I make no judgement about dating other than saying 'some of us aren't even that lucky'. – Pharap – 2018-01-31T22:43:58.080

@Cullub "Sleep patterns for us teenagers are pretty easy to change" I don't think you can say that in respect to all teenagers. The OP has made it clear that she struggles to fall asleep before 11 and will just lie in bed struggling. – Pharap – 2018-01-31T22:47:23.223

@Pharap fair enough - this is just from personal experience. But I've been there too -- If I'm used to falling asleep at 11 (like right now, unfortunately), I simply can't fall asleep at 9. In fact, if I try, I'll often not be able to sleep until 12. But if I wake up at 6 anyway, then don't take naps the next day, it usually is much easier to fall asleep at 9. Usually I'm on a new sleep schedule in three days or fewer. – Cullub – 2018-02-01T14:30:04.643

1Much better answer than all the other ones that want the OP to go against their parents. Shifting your sleep pattern isn't easy though: you have to get up and walk around like a zombie for 1 or 2 weeks before it will start to feel ok and you'll start to fall asleep earlier. – Carlo Wood – 2018-02-01T16:25:52.923

6Is the "slim those thighs" comment really necessary? Teenage girls get enough harmful messages about their body image as it is. – Em C – 2018-02-01T16:48:40.883

1Sorry? I used it as an incentive for a teenager who says they would like to wear crop tops and/or shorts. I'm attempting the glass is half-full message. Is suggesting that she take healthy morning exercise bad for her self-esteem? – Mari-Lou A – 2018-02-01T18:33:24.307

6Being active isn't bad at all, exercise is very good for you. I was just pointing out that it sounded like an implication that she should be concerned about her size when there is absolutely no basis for that in the post. It seems far more likely that she is not allowed to wear crop tops and shorts because of her parents concerns about boys, rather than them thinking she's not slim enough. – Em C – 2018-02-02T02:40:41.823

1@Pharap most people who go on holiday abroad find they can manage to shift their sleep patterns very well. This is the whole basis for jet lag. if a European goes to america on holiday they don't spend the whole holiday as nocturnal people, they adjust their body clocks. But she has to want to do it.. – WendyG – 2018-02-06T12:25:54.850

1@WendyLisaGibbons Not saying you're wrong necessarily, but that isn't the best example. When you travel, the light changes and that helps your body clock adjust. – called2voyage – 2018-02-06T13:48:50.097

@called2voyage very good point about the light – WendyG – 2018-02-06T14:00:02.283

11

My suggestion: first thing is to find a crisis support center for teens. If you're fortunate to have one in walking distance, go there. Otherwise, find one by phone. You need to find a supportive voice before your mental state gets any worse. Fixing the home situation comes after that. If your high school guidance counselor is of any use (and I recognize that there are plenty of schools whose guidance centers are less than useless), ask them for help or references. If you can't even get on a computer at home, use one in your school's library or tech center to find interactive online crisis support.

It doesn't matter whether your parents' rules and concerns are valid or not. What matters is that you are at a very fragile age and that your life situation is hurting you right now. That's where you need to start: helping yourself regardless of the family.

Carl Witthoft

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 243

9Excuse me, but a crisis center for not wearing make up or having a smart phone? The thing with boys is weird, but it still doesn't seem anything like an actual crisis. You need to realize that such facilities may decide to try to take legal action or something over this. Any damage to her family because of that is far more likely to harm her than what she's going through now. And it absolutely matters whether her parents' concerns are valid. As her parents who see her every day, they're in a much better position to judge her needs than random schmoe on the internet. – jpmc26 – 2018-01-29T22:00:19.557

8If you call a crisis center over this I expect your call to them to become the actual crisis in your life. – Mehrdad – 2018-01-30T10:16:53.347

1@jpmc26 WIth all due respect, you have absolutely no concept of the social pressure teenage girls deal with. You further apparently have no clue about the damage these parents are doing right now. The thought that somehow being a parent automatically qualifies you to act as a parent is pathetic. – Carl Witthoft – 2018-01-30T12:37:31.013

2@CarlWitthoft If you're so familiar with every problem a teenager girl faces and every possible outcome and effect, then perhaps you should enlighten the universe with your wisdom in your answer (and on mine, where I explicitly requested actual criticisms instead of insults) instead of deriding criticism of it. If you can't articulate it, then maybe you don't know as much about it as you think you do. You do not know this person. When acting with such extraordinary ignorance about the situation as we have, we should use extreme caution and be very careful about recommending drastic action. – jpmc26 – 2018-01-30T12:51:47.307

12@jpmc26 For not being allowed to have friends of either gender, for every conversation to be monitored, to not even be allowed to celebrate your birthday, at age 15 - you don't think this is damaging behaviour? In less than a year, she will be legally an adult in the UK. What would you say if someone was treating an adult this way? I can tell you that in the UK this is classed as emotional abuse, and it's a crime. – Graham – 2018-01-30T12:53:32.050

@Graham I'm honestly not clear on exactly what the OP is describing. She says, "Yet another thing I am denied is to hang out with friends. I am allowed to have friends but my parents never let me go out with them without parent supervision. I can't have birthday parties..." By my reading, this means she could go out and celebrate with her friends if one of her friends' parents came. Note the contradictory characterization of being "denied" and then in the next sentence saying it's allowed with supervision. There's at least some exaggeration; I can't tell how much. So caution is warranted. – jpmc26 – 2018-01-30T13:02:50.157

@Graham This is why I'm so disturbed that so many people are so quick to assume the absolute worst possible interpretation (as I noted on the question). – jpmc26 – 2018-01-30T13:05:01.220

9As someone who was a teenage girl, she's going to know her situation and how it's affecting her best. Not her parents, not anyone on the internet. Additionally, if she's feeling isolated to the point that she's considering self-harm of any sort, that is a crisis situation and a crisis center or school counselor would be able to help her find the help she needs, even if that help is therapy that allows her to see perspectives other than the one she has right now. – Shauna – 2018-01-30T14:50:13.823

2@jpmc26 "As her parents who see her every day, they're in a much better position to judge her needs than random schmoe on the internet." And yet she's decided to ask the random schmoes for advice, which to me implies she has nobody else to talk to about the issue. Her parents attempts to prevent her meeting with friends unless supervised furether supports the idea that she can't discuss her problems anywhere else. Furthermore, Shauna's right - this could well escalate into the OP trying to do something drastic. – Pharap – 2018-01-31T23:00:54.700

2@jpmc26 - A crisis center would probably be able to get the OP's parents to get her mental healthcare - "I just don't think that I can live like this any longer" is a sign of a brewing mental health crisis. She's not coping with life as it is and would benefit from professional help (most likely therapy). Yes, it is unlikely to get her a boyfriend or a smartphone, but therapy can be very helpful in giving her tools for coping with the situation she's in. – McCann – 2018-02-01T16:22:43.580

@McCann Not necessarily. Teenagers escalating their choice of words is not uncommon. What parent of a teenager hasn't heard them say, "I hate you!"? We shouldn't assume a passing mention of this phrase necessarily signals a massive crisis. The OP is asking for research to share with their parents, which suggests to me they are still in a rational state, even if they're frustrated. As for intervention by the crisis center, the state is like HR: it's not your friend, even if your goals occasionally align. Intervention of that kind carries it's own set of additional problems. – jpmc26 – 2018-02-01T18:42:54.827

Situation still cries for assessment by an independent adult. – ZuOverture – 2018-02-02T06:21:04.460

@jpmc26 - You can have depression and be rational. She probably has situational depression. Just because it's not to the point where it's disabling doesn't mean it's something she should just live with and not seek help. The idea that the state would intervene in any way that's drastic in this case is laughable. This girl is fed, clothed, attends school, and isn't being beaten or molested by anyone in her house, CPS wouldn't remove her from her family. They may say she should get therapy. They may offer optional parenting classes. I'm caring for a teenager in the system currently. – McCann – 2018-02-02T16:29:18.607

8

For most things you mentioned, there's one approach that might work, but it's risky, so think through the consequences before you do it:

What you can do is blame your parents when talking to your friends and teachers. And then explicitly tell your parents that you're blaming them for everything your friends want you to do that you can't. Chances are they'll feel embarrassed—who wants to earn themselves a bad reputation in their kid's school? And to make your case more solid make sure to keep it to facts ("my parents don't let me go out"), not anything beyond that ("they think I'll get hurt")—it'd be harder for them to dispute you telling your friends the facts in your life.

However, one thing you said stands out to me:

Your parents are causing you to turn in assignments late by telling you to go to bed at 9pm.

Honestly, for that particular situation, I would do this:

  • Go to your teacher.

  • Tell her that you're trying to to everything you can to learn the material and finish your assignments on time but cannot because of your parents (and explain why).
    (Basically, make it clear that your parents are standing in the way of your education.)

  • Ask your teacher if she can speak with your parents and tell them something.

  • Ask your teacher if students generally sleep this early, and if not, ask her to bring that up to your parents as well.

  • Maybe go up to your high school counselor/assistant principal/principal and have them help you convince your parents they're being unreasonable.

For other issues, ultimately they get the final say, and you'll just have to wait until you go to college. (But watch out: even then, if they pay for your education, they'll probably have some leverage over what you do too.) But one job of a government is to make sure that kids get an adequate education, even if parents don't care for them to. This means your teacher might implicitly carry more weight in the ability to change at least this aspect of your parents' opinions. And there's a chance (a small one, but still) that if they get convinced by this, their other policies might budge too.

Mehrdad

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 258

18Shaming kids to is a terrible way for a parent to guide a child. Telling a child to try it on a parent is even worse. Starting a fight between the school and the parents is also a bad idea. – WGroleau – 2018-01-29T19:46:58.820

6@WGroleau: You'd be more convincing if you explained why these are such horrible ideas. – Mehrdad – 2018-01-29T20:50:04.360

3This might be a cultural thing, but I as a parent would not consider this to be a fair move making further negotiations more difficult. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen – 2018-01-30T10:10:49.517

1@ThorbjørnRavnAndersen: What would be a fair move in your view? (Also, which part is "this" that you're referring to?) – Mehrdad – 2018-01-30T10:12:28.537

1@Mehrdad "This" refers to the blame game. A fair move for me would be to discuss this as adult to almost adult but that may not be realistic for OP. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen – 2018-01-30T10:23:42.503

1@ThorbjørnRavnAndersen: Wait, that part sounds unfair to you? So you think it would be fairer to expect your child to protect you and lie about the real reason she can't do whatever her friends or teachers ask? – Mehrdad – 2018-01-30T10:28:43.283

3@Mehrdad There is a vast difference between saying things is due do parents restrictions, and actually blaming them. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen – 2018-01-30T10:32:13.663

2@ThorbjørnRavnAndersen: I don't see the distinction? "Want to come hang out with us?" "No, my parents refuse to let me hang out with friends/boys/whatever." | "Why didn't you finish your homework?" "Well I was trying to, but my parents force me to go to bed at 9pm and I don't have enough time to finish before then." – Mehrdad – 2018-01-30T10:36:14.727

9@WGroleau If the parents are explicitly and directlyharming her education, then the school needs to know. If the parents are unaware that their parenting is having this impact, teachers have a level of maturity and independence in the discussion which the child does not have. They're also coming from a position of authority in having seen lots of kids making their way, where parents only have one or two. And worst case, if the parents are doing this intentionally, knowing the effect on her education, that's a child protection issue. – Graham – 2018-01-30T12:50:02.617

1@Graham To me this sounds more like a time management issue on the OP's part. Time management is an important skill to have in life, if she knows her bed time is 9pm, she can't really blame her parents for not getting her work done. Perhaps she simply needs to budget her time better. – user123 – 2018-01-31T17:06:24.460

2@user123 Possibly, but it depends. If school finishes at 4:30, she's got an hour's travel (including waiting for the bus) and an hour for food, that leaves her with 2.5 hours a day for everything else. That's for all extracurricular activities (does she play any instrument? go to Girl Scouts? sports?), homework, personal hygiene, and perhaps some time for doing stuff like reading or playing games which will stop her imploding in the way the Japanese school system drives kids to suicide. The average homework load for kids that age in the UK is around 2 hours a day. – Graham – 2018-01-31T17:39:14.713

1@user123: Yeah, I'm assuming for the sake of this question that the OP is already doing everything as best as she can. I intended that to be thought about in the risk analysis but maybe I should've stated that? – Mehrdad – 2018-01-31T17:58:11.977

2@ThorbjørnRavnAndersen If the parents aren't mature enough to discuss the matter as rational adults and work out a compromise (as I suspect is the case) then frankly I don't think any amount of 'fairness' is going to help the OP. – Pharap – 2018-01-31T22:31:18.197

Chances are the parents will feel embarrassed about being blamed for OP's inability to take part in (from the parent's perspective) forbidden activities? I highly doubt it. – Phil – 2018-02-02T11:23:28.780

@WGroleau If it is affecting school work, asking a teacher to intervene is fair game. The OP's parents' behaviour is consistent with wishing to maintain a rigid status quo; they are more likely to engage with a teacher as an equal, especially if their child's academic success is involved. – Jordan Gray – 2018-02-02T13:21:28.207

5

There's a good chance your parents are just basting in the horrors of what they did when they were your age. Or what they were surrounded by. Don't forget what the world was like for them when they were your age. There were no cell phones or social media. To them you can live without it, and clearly the only thing kids use cell phones for are to sext and become victims of sexual predation. Same with the entire internet as a whole. I doubt you'll convince them that phones and the internet can be used for good things without it being full of B line paths to getting you pregnant immediately.

Basically, they're still seeing you as this little kid. They hold on to memories of you being a small fragile thing and are probably scared that you won't be there forever. If anything you will be gone very soon to them. Everything is a threat and if anything happened to you they would probably just die. We all think this way, just not all of us feel the best way to ensure your safety is to put you on 23 hour lockdown and fear the whole world.

In short, try not to see their actions as unreasonable.

Try to realize you're their little bear and they want to keep you safe from everything no matter how small it seems. Chances are the world is going to hell in their minds and they don't know what else to do but the whole "tough love" thing. I happen to disagree with them, but I know what they must be thinking. I have no idea how insane I'll be when my kids are your age. Plus, I'm an internet programmer... it really is like the worst thing your kids can get a hold of while also being a very strong resource for education, personal development, and not being a total dumb ass when it comes to news and general information. A complete double edge sword they would probably rather you stay away from until some arbitrary college age (cause nobody does stupid things in college).

So what can you do? Well, that depends on what you really want. And I don't mean face value. "I want a cell phone" or "I want to stay up till 11." Do you want to gain freedom if it means your family becomes unstable? Panic will do that very easily. Think like a hypochondriac whose focus is outward. In many ways it's not like the shock of jumping in a cold pool. It might hurt them forever. Especially if something does happen after they let you do something, no matter how small. However, it might not. It might show them that you can be allowed to make your own choices and everything might be great. Point is you don't know so you have to weigh the cost/benefit of getting what you want at the expense of the last years you will be living with your parents. I mean, how much do you really care to send texts to friends?

You don't know if you can live like this any longer? Well put. I've been saying that every day I have to get up and go to work. And my life is awesome and my family is wonderful. But we all choose to focus on some little thing to justify a discontent for what is otherwise a perfectly acceptable arrangement. Obviously I don't know the half of it, but I was a teenager once in an era with no internet or cell phones. Kids were still doing drugs, sex, and all sorts of horrid things I hope my kids are not blind to when they get there. Your parents were in that same era as well. But really, how oppressive is it to live under your parents' iron curtain?

What would I do? I'd drop small statistical details that counterpoint their claims. You posted here, so you have internet access. Look up factual statistics about how often controlling parents leads to unprepared children and the scale of difficulties they face over children with more flexibility. Explain yourself eloquently and with representative vocabulary/vernacular. For example. Don't try to convince someone you are reliable by rolling your eyes, saying "whatever" in any context, and filling a sentence with "like" for no good reason. Not to say you do that, but speaking like a kid will get you regarded as a kid. So demonstrate intelligence and the confidence that you will not be seduced by the dark side may become ever present. Figure it's a slow road as well. I don't think there's a single thing you can say to them that will get you an iphone and a later bed time. You'll need to be patient, and perhaps even cater to their fears while using actual intelligence to ween them away from holding you back. In the end the psychology needed to convince them is in reality the intelligence they are looking for to let go. They just want to know the world won't snatch you up. Show them it won't.

Kai Qing

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 2 867

1Come on man. Changing my words in favor of things like "victims of sexual predation" undoes a lot of the intention I choose to convey. It does not help my opinion unless I use some totally obscure language nobody will understand. I know my opinion is already too long to read, so chopping out small segments based on your opinion is a little superfluous. I want it to be crass and offensive if necessary. I'd rather it was read as it is spoken and not conforming to some politically correct assumption of words that are too harsh for ears. – Kai Qing – 2018-01-29T18:52:27.910

4If the edit is inappropriate, revert it. Not taking sides, just mentioning that this is possible. – WGroleau – 2018-01-29T20:00:55.303

1@WGroleau - No, I respect nongoodnurses decision, just noting that it changes the voice of the poster is all. If the post is inappropriate I would rather it was deleted than have the voice changed. Most of the edits I agree with, as I tend to get too personal. Thanks though – Kai Qing – 2018-01-29T20:34:53.293

1@KaiQing I concur. I think changing "take crotch pics" to "sext" and "get raped anyway" to "become victims of sexual predation" were uneccessary edits. The grammatical fixes were fine, the 'tonal fixes' added nothing of value. – Pharap – 2018-01-31T22:51:14.250

1I have mixed feelings about a lot of the points, but I think the final two lines "They just want to know the world won't snatch you up. Show them it won't." are worthy of an upvote. It might not necessarily work, but logic and reasoning are good tools of persuasion. – Pharap – 2018-01-31T22:54:15.543

4

Nobody here knows your parents better than you do. If you don't know them that well you should invest some time and study them. You need to know why are they being so strict, what's their motivation. Bring up subjects in regards to education, parenting, life advice, etc or just listen very carefully while they are talking to other people about this kind of subjects. Don't rush with this one, you don't want to be wrong or misinterpret, take your time.

Once you understand their motives, you can slowly get your freedom by manipulating their beliefs. It's not as bad as it sounds, you will basically be doing things that have a larger scope, that will have an impact on your freedom but at a first glance, won't look that way.

I strongly recommend you reading Plato's dialogues first to get an idea how Socrates used this method to convince people that they don't have such a deeper understanding of the subject they believe were experts in.

If they listen to the voice a reason I recommend the solution given by Erik.

If they don't:

Trick them into getting them what you want. Just tell them you want something (mobile, hang out with friends, etc) for an honorable cause or something that will appeal to them. If you're lucky and got the thing you wanted, use it for the initial purpose but also for what you want.

If none of the above works for you, there is the all-in solution unless you have violent parents. If they can make your life even worse than what it is now or even worse, hit you or give you some sort of unfair punishment you should never try this one.

Assuming that they will never hurt you can simply rebel. Start with small things. Use nail polish or even make-up one day. Of course, you will get punished or something, but at this point, they can't take much from you. Ask yourself, what's the worst that can happen? If you think it's worth the consequences you can do(For example, I can live with 2 more hours of homework every day but I can wear make-up). Don't push it though and start and violate all the rules at once. Take it step by step.

If for some reason nothing works or it's not worth trying, including the answers mentioned by other users, there's probably nothing you can do, so just wait. You'll get to do what you want in a few years and that will be for the rest of your life.

I really hope that one of the answers mentioned here will help you!

Best of luck :)

Marian Ioan

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 41

4

To expand my comment into an answer: it's natural to have trouble sleeping at 9 PM if you're a teenager. There is abundant evidence that circadian rhythms of adolescents are delayed relative to adults and younger children, a finding that has been shown even in non-human mammals. It might be worth a try to provide them with some popular science articles about this (e.g.).

However, I'm not particularly optimistic that showing them the right well-supported research is going to produce changes in their parenting. What I think some of the other responders are missing is that it's not about the specific decisions your parents are making, as much as it is about how they're making them: unilaterally, and without appearing to even consider your input. Being demanding without being responsive, i.e., "because I said so" parenting, is indicative of an authoritarian as opposed to an authoritative style:

Authoritarian parenting is a restrictive, punishment-heavy parenting style in which parents make their children follow their directions with little to no explanation or feedback and focus on the child's and family's perception and status.

In contrast:

Authoritative parents will set clear standards for their children, monitor the limits that they set, and also allow children to develop autonomy. They also expect mature, independent, and age-appropriate behavior of children.

It's not surprising to me that you're having a difficult time with this; authoritarian parenting has been linked to an increased risk of "internalizing" disorders, like symptoms of anxiety and depression.

As far as what to do about it: first, know that you're not crazy and how you're being treated is not your fault. You could try showing them some literature about parenting styles, but I think that could actually backfire since it would probably be interpreted as presumptuous. For now, I would instead focus on changing the things you actually have control over. One of these is treating your mental health. It may be a little tough for you to get access to therapy, but one easier thing you could do is look into the more reputable types of self-help. Feeling Good is a classic of the genre that is prevalent enough that you could probably find it in a library. You may also want to explore some self-help books that introduce mindfulness: these skills can allow you to experience emotions without getting overwhelmed by them and losing perspective. (Here's an Ask Metafilter thread about mindfulness. I've also seen this book recommended.) Cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness skills may come in handy when you are, for example, in the frustrating situation of being expected to maintain your composure even in the face of unreasonable or dismissive behavior. (Of course, if you are ever experiencing a real crisis where you have recurrent thoughts of harming yourself or others, get in touch with a crisis hotline right away!)

In terms of practical advice: often, people's relationships with their parents improves a lot after they are able to leave the house. Obviously, this isn't directly applicable just yet. But there may some concrete options that would allow you to leave the house earlier than usual while not burning bridges with your parents or becoming a runaway (don't do this, obviously! This is a big part of why we have so many homeless LGBTQ+ youth, for example). For example, you could look into graduating from high school a year early, if that's a possibility for you. Another option might be to apply to a college that admits younger high school students, like Simon's Rock.

Good luck!

Patrick B.

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 149

Noob question: Why is this answer downvoted? Would a comment explaining why not have helped the one who answered improve the answer? – Phil – 2018-02-02T11:31:29.347

Sadly @Phil, people often down vote to register that they disagree with an answer, even if they found it useful, or have no suggestions as to how it can be improved. – Mark Booth – 2018-02-02T18:17:28.103

4

I actualy saw this writen here " you're fortunate that they even allow you to attend high school".

We need to maybe access the fact that this girl has human rights, and in this day and age being locked out of being with friends and going out and having an internet connection? Dictators also employ the tactic of locking people away from the world so they know no better than what they have.

Your parents are not doing a good job, obviously they should worry, and obviously you are better off with them rather than with parents who don't care at all about you.

But you need to be prepared for the world, and if you don't do it now, reality will hit you like a truck in a few years.

I liked the sugestion to get a job, that's a good start, buy a phone as soon as you can, get an internet connection on that phone, and hide that phone from your parents. Maybe keeping it in the school locker is a nice start, at least you will have a phone when you're not inside your house.

Oh, and they told you not that you cannot have a boyfriend, they told you they CANNOT know that you have one ;) Overly protective parents get lied to and tricked into believing they're kids are "perfect" when they are just like any other kid out there, that is their choice.

In the end you have to remember you are not your parents property, you are a human being with needs and feelings and objectives and wants. If they can't respect that, live your life beyond them.

Matos

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 41

"you are not your parents property" How true is that if she's a minor? – Mark Yisri – 2018-02-07T12:20:51.357

@MarkYisri If you question combining "human" and "not a property" being "true", I feel like in a time machine. – yo' – 2018-02-07T16:44:58.620

@yo' I'm sorry for the confusion. I meant that as a minor her parents would be held responsible for her actions. – Mark Yisri – 2018-02-07T20:46:45.890

2

I can understand your parents concerns. Anyway you are right; they are too strict. The smartphone could be the easiest problem. I suggest you to offer a compromise. Show them the benefits of smartphones except social media. Your parents biggest worries are most probably social media i guess. To be honest, you miss nothing important without social media and in general you will feel better without it. I know what I'm talking about, because i grew up while the social media and smartphone-era began. Your offer can be a restricted use of the phone. No social media, no use after bedtime (be prepared, that they want to take your phone after you go to bed). If they want more and this is fine for you, tell them about the possibility of GPS-live-tracking. For example there is the "Friends"-App for iOS which allows live-tracking eachother. This app would also have the nice side-effect that your parents will also know how it feels to be controlled. The GPS-Tracking could also help with the "meeting friends restriction".

The early bedtime can be approached by consulting a doctor, who can approve that it makes no sense for you to go sleep that early when you stay awake 2 hours after going to bed.

The problem with dates is a pretty big one for your parents. In some years I will also have children and I can see myself facing the same problem (especially in case I'll have a doughter). I asked myself many times how I can handle it. The biggest worry here is, that a guy only wants "one thing" from you and you don't realize that. To be honest this isn't such a big worry if you are smart and I just guess you are. The only solution here is, that your parents need more trust in you and your decisions. Here you can also offer some restriction. I also have parents who gave me way too many restrictions (also early bedtimes, internet restrictions, etc.) with pretty big penalties if I violated them. Such kind of parents will not let all restrictions go and if you offer these restrictions yourself, it's way more effective, as if they do.

Good luck!

Otto V.

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 121

1My suggestion is based on OP saying money is no problem at all. – Otto V. – 2018-01-29T11:57:09.727

2@RuiFRibeiro no, I'm no teen and meanwhile i earn my own money. To clarify OP sounded like, it's no problem for her parents to buy it in any financial aspects. Btw. I know what you mean. I had the same situation like you. My parents have enough money but I also had to buy my computer completely on my own. My first smartphone was the old one of my father, when he got a new one. – Otto V. – 2018-01-29T12:39:44.380

1

First off, let me say that as a father of 2 adults (one girl and one boy), I understand this dilemma from both sides. There also is no perfect solution or "right" answer to your problem. Its going to take patience for you to get through this difficult time.

It often is best to understand what we control and what is out of our control so as to properly frame the problem. For example, you control what you say (speech) and to whom. You dont control what your parents say. Take an inventory of what each of you control to get a better handle on your situation.

Now the tough part: Accept that your efforts and concern should only apply or be exercised within the sphere of things within your control. This is a mature stance to adopt. If you can do it, others will recognize your wisdom, which is very good for all parties. In short, "get your own house in order". You will save much energy fighting battles that are out of your control.

Try hard to develop yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. Be very glad that although you are missing out on "social media" for now, you still have access to the internet. USE IT! Time is on your side. 18 may seem a long way off, but trust me, the years will go by very fast. You have the rest of your life to engage in social media, dating, etc...

Use your love for your parents to bolster your patient resolve to treat them with respect and kindness, even though they may not be reciprocating those character qualities. By doing this, you will exude confidence and wisdom beyond your years. In time, they will treat you differently as a result. Use curiosity when making plans instead of digging yourself in defensively. Be willing, at least for discussion sake, to consider your parents suggestions. Adopt a habit of not making important decisions without sleeping on them overnight. This will aid in eliminating impulsive decisions, which you may regret at a later date.

Above all, when frustrated and ready to give up, remember that you have a home and parents that love you! Therefore, you are very, very fortunate indeed. Always count your blessings and be grateful for what you do have in life.

All the best,

user31211

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 19

1

Children are like wet cement: Without the form and structure parentS provide, they harden in to useless waste that society ends up crushing and recycling or throwing away entirely.

You are a 15-year old child, looking for someone to tell you, "You're right, they're wrong." Clearly, many people are obliging you.

While you aptly described the horrible way your parents are treating you, you conveniently left out your behavior to have earned such a strict rearing. That, alone, indicates you have a problem with integrity. I suspect you may not even recognize the effort your parents go through to provide for you (you left out ANYHTING they provide for you -- did you simply forget it or are you intentionally taking it for granted?), hence your negativity towards being called an ingrate.

Here are your ways out:

  • When you turn 16 you may be able to find a job. Your parents may allow this since it shows the tiniest semblance of responsibility.
  • When you turn 16, you can petition the court to be emancipated. Then, you can move out and support yourself and live your life any way you wish.
  • When you turn 18, should you decide not to emancipate yourself at 16, you can again move out, support yourself and live your life any way you wish.
  • At 17, possibly with parental permission, you may be able to join a branch of the military. It will be, at that point, when you're definition of, "strict," will mature. You may find your parents were lackadaisical in their efforts to rear you. Bonus: you'll be able to pay for college yourself.

Until you reach these milestones, it would be good practice, and in YOUR best interest, to keep your mouth closed (except to say two words: "Thank you"), your ears and eyes open and to learn everything you can.

You're welcome.

FoundingFather

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 31

3Wet cement will take the shape of whatever you put it in. While you make some good points that the OP should strongly consider, you're point of view presents a situation where the parent's interests and the child's interests are completely incompatible, making it very difficult for anyone to take you too seriously. Really the interests should be one and the same, even though their concerns are fundamentally different. – zugzwang – 2018-02-04T18:09:53.407

1This is the only real answer here. The rest are just baloney. – mj_ – 2018-02-06T19:22:29.687

1

I can see I'm a bit late to the game, you've already got a load of replies, but let me add my view all the same. First of all, I remember being a teenager (oh, so long ago), and I sympathise deeply with you; at that age we do love our parents, but my God, don't they make it hard sometimes?

I think I can guess what is driving them (or perhaps it is mostly your dad?): fear. They remember just how stupid they themselves were at that age, and they are scared that you may get hurt. I think I can see that confirmed in the fact that they are controlling and employ bullying tactics ("Well there's the joke of the day!" - I have been at the receiving end of bullying often enough to know it).

Now, as for how to break out of this, I don't think, like many of the other responses seem to suggest, that keeping the family peace is the most important part of this. As you age, you are supposed to be on the way to becoming independent, make you own choices, becoming adult, and that does necessarily imply breaking away from your parents. They should encourage you to do so, and offer you their guidance as to how you best manage adult life; by trying to control your behaviour this way, they are not only hurting your self-confidence, they are failing in their duty.

Finally for the advice part: that is really tricky, since I don't know enough about your situation. Like - Are your parents strong enough in themselves to trust you and to make sensible decisions (and ask their advice if you are in doubt)? Are you strong anough to confront them without getting dragged into a screaming match (which you will most likely lose)? Are there people that you can rely on to help you? Or could you tolerate living with it until you are 18?

j4nd3r53n

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 11

1

Show them this question (this was mentioned in a comment and I think should really be an answer on its own). It provides lots of talking ground.

During the ensuing discussion the most important thing is not to lose your temper, focus on calmly and politely asking them to give reasons for their restrictions, find problems with that reasoning and tell them about the problems. Ideally, if you find a problem with their logic, put it as a question, i.e. "Why is ... right?" instead of "I think ... is wrong.". It's much less confrontative that way and helps to keep the discussion calm and constructive. Just stating that a certain rule makes you unhappy is also good start.

If they don't think they need to have a discussion or give you reasons for their rules then this approach might not work. In that case you could try convincing them to have discussions anyway with arguments like

  • Talking to you shows that they care about you
  • The ability to have constructive discussions is an important life skill, why not add some more training?
  • If they could convince you of their rules you would be much happier
  • If they could convince you of their rules, you would follow them even in cases where they would never catch you breaking the rules. For example in adult life.

Nobody

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 111

1

I don't think anybody mentioned what I would consider the most promising idea: Ask somebody who enjoys the trust of your parents to intervene on your behalf. Parents are not all-knowing and may feel insecure about how to respond to new media or social norms. (When I was little all of our parents needed to form an opinion about the new thing TV: How much are the children allowed to watch, and what was appropriate?) They may actually be grateful about a chance to get first-hand experience from others. So try to find someone -- an uncle, a friend's parents, perhaps even a teacher --, explain the situation and ask whether they might talk to your parents. Whether it's better to have a full-scale family conference or let just the adults talk I'm not sure.

I suppose it would help to focus on the two or three most painful and most unusual issues; for me going out with (female) friends would be top, perhaps followed with certain "safe" and ritualized forms of dating, e.g. going to a movie on the weekend, and returning at 10 p.m.

Peter A. Schneider

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 386

0

Great question, honestly.

I have read many of the other answers above and they are GREAT, good advice but I do think that the approach is wrong. To correctly answer your question first you need to think about where "strict" parents come from. This is not as much an issue of love as it is an issue of control, discipline and drive. Why do I say that? Well the idea of strict parents is something that is very "passe", old fashioned. Mostly because its very tightly rooted in the way the world used to work. Where to be an authority figure you needed and assumed ultimate control.

These days ultimate control isn't feasible, that's why you're asking the question of how to solve your problem. Your parents are acting in a way that is comfortable for them, their idea (that has been in their heads for a long time) is that if they control you completely they can also protect you completely.

So now that I have explained that, what do you do about it?

Well as you might have imagined breaking trends that are long rooted in people's minds is not an easy feat. However you have a great advantage... they are your parents and even though they might seem strict and super authoritative you need to remember their thought process behind that is at its core, protecting you completely.

Fortunately, I have dealt with this sort of thing a few times for friends of mine so I have a bit of a step checklist that you can chose to use if you feel it fits! Note: You can also take things out of order to fit the situation.

Step 1 Understanding: As their child, you are their mission. They are being strict likely to protect you and because they feel if they control things like your curfew, boyfriends, social life and habits that they can force you into what they see as a good life. Why do they do that? Well just look around, your parents see things like kids dropping out of school to have babies, your parents see kids younger and younger doing drugs. Things like that scare them when they want the best life possible for you. So how do you combat that? You need to show them that you're responsible. They will come all the way off the strict attitude if you beat them to restricting yourself. If they see that you have the knowledge and understanding to come home early without them saying so, if they see you not on the computer all the time without them saying so, all of these things will show them that you're growing up and part of a child growing up is letting them go, they will eventually have to understand that you're responsible and that YOU want a good life too.

Step 2 Demonstration: Now you're acting mature its time to really force them to realize it, do things that they don't force you to do all on your own. Things like talking about your future, things like looking into future jobs. All of these things are "grown up" tasks that will show them that you're not just faking it to get them to back off, that you actually care about your future. The last thing that is part of this step is going to them to ask for advice, this is a super grown up thing to do. Parents LOVE having advice sourced from them, they love being the ones you turn to when you have questions. This will reassure them that you care about their input in your life as well. You can at this point add back in some of the things they don't like as long as you are organized, and preforming as well. Like getting your computer time back as long as you're still focused in on what matters.

Step 3 Pull Away: Now that you're doing all these things, its time to start reminding them that you're grown up. Start saying things like "Mom (or Dad) I do that all the time, or I understand you don't need to remind me anymore" you need to be very careful about when you say this, but this will gently remind them that you want some space. If you keep reminding them it will slowly sink in that they don't need to be on your case all the time.

Okay so those are my SIMPLE steps, try them out... if they work that's awesome and you will actually be really happy about your life because you will start to see your parents get less stressed. Awkwardly enough you feel like they are strict, but they are actually SUPER stressed out about your future. Your parents only want what is best for you, at the moment they have no "defined" way of getting to that end goal so they stress out and hold on as tight as possible to control the situation.

These steps are all about relaxing them into the mindset that YOU'VE GOT THIS, and they no longer need to hold on so tight.

Like I said the other answers are while different approaches great, and I think that if you really want to solve this problem you should use a bit of everything people have said here to really get a good grasp on what parents are looking for.

I really do hope this helps! Have a good one!

Stephen

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 1

-1

Your parents are responsible for your upbringing. Ultimately you will choose your own road when you leave for college, get your own place or maybe marry someone - then that is on you. But up until that point your parents sound like they are doing their best to protect you and raise you to be a mature responsible adult.

Once you leave the home, you will be responsible for all this on your own. My suggestion to you. Make the most of your life now. Strict parents can stink sometimes (trust me, I feel ya). But now that I'm in my adult life, I couldn't be more thankful for the 'strict' protection of my family. It kept me out of trouble and kept my feet on the right path for success.

Your parents sound like they love you enough to put their feet down and say 'no' because they can see other kids your age and what they are doing with their lives and where they are headed and I'm sure they want so much for you. Some rules might seem SUPER extreme and if so - TALK to your parents. Always Communicate your feelings - even if they still say 'no'. Keep doing it. That will help ready you for future relationships too.

Peach

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 1

-1

(I'm going to risk that this answer is not well accepted. Because, frankly, the advice implied is at least questionable. But still, it worked for me over some things and I feel it shall be mentioned here.)


In a somewhat similar situation, I ran away from home. I never mentioned thinking of this to my parents prior to doing it. I had a cell phone, but I did not respond. I ruined one Christmas Eve of our family.

It was a bad thing to do and I don't think people should do this. But I'm more on the side that if children do run away from home (seriously, not to skip duties of feel macho), it's not thier fault. It simply indicates that there is a problem in the household, problem of trust and of taking each other seriously.

Why I ran away? The primarily urge was freedom. I was (like many times before) told to tidy up my room and was criticized for that "there must be such a mess in the house even on Xmas" and that "look at us (parents), do you see any mess anywhere?" Now you can think it's silly; please don't take me wrong, but I hate having my room tidied up. Actually, that day made me personally realize how important this was (and is) for me and ever since there has to be a certain level of chaos around me.

How did it go? I ran away around lunch, I spent the next few ours basically just sitting the random vehicles of our public transport system. Soon, I realized I knew what I would do if I did not feel easy returning home; there was this good friend of me and I was sure his family wouldn't have closes their door if I had come there, I had also realized I had had enough money to go to their place even by a taxi. I returned home in late afternoon and finally, we were all together for the Christmas dinner and the celebration (which is done on the Eve in my country).


Now what I want to say. If you considered escalating things this far, you should know what it usually means for the minds of you and people around. (This is based not only on my own example, but also on my experience with psychology as a scoutmaster.)

Your parents will very likely fear of what's happening to you (and they'll be quite right, without any way of knowing where you are). At the same time, they might blame yourself or themselves for what happened (it's a natural thing to blame just for the feeling that there is something to blame). You will probably feel guilt for what you did, and that's neither wrong not right, it simply is. Both them and you will have some time to think why it probably happened and what brought you where you are. It's certainly very emotional for all, and strong emotions are tough to control.

It certainly made me realize how important it is for me to keep my chaos and how important it is for my parents to see my room tidy. It made them realize (I believe) that they should try to understand my needs. I still feel negative emotions thinking about that day, but I don't exactly regret doing it. But also, not all parents are like that, some do take these things as an offence against them, can become aggressive


Final words. I would like to ask you please: Please, do not do this. It's not a nice way of solving close family issues, it is dangerous and can as easily be either productive or counter-productive and you cannot know. I also do not think you can decide to run away from home. But if you ever happened to do it, I hope you'd remember this answer.

yo'

Posted 2018-01-29T02:03:40.583

Reputation: 274

This answer boils down to: "Run away. Please don't do this." Does that answer the question? – anongoodnurse – 2018-02-07T17:26:34.430

@anongoodnurse Is it better now? If not, is the problem in that giving answers saying what not to do is frowned upon, even if the goal is to minimize the possible negative effects if it really happened? – yo' – 2018-02-07T17:28:54.033

No, I'm sorry to say, it's not. The answer is the same, and it contradicts itself. It reads more like you just telling a story that is not recommended as a solution for the OP. The "problem" is that we want real answers. This is not that. One can also say, "Go on a hunger strike. No, don't! That sucks!" There are a million things to not recommend. The OP is asking for help, not your story about running away. Sorry. – anongoodnurse – 2018-02-07T17:36:23.983

@anongoodnurse Yes, I'm demonstrating what could happen on my own example (and with my own experience from parent-child issues). The question is whether: (1) Does it help the OP or not? (2) Does it fit in this QA site? If the answers are (1)yes and (2)no, then it's a pity. In any other case, things can be resolved I think.

The thing is that running away is as I said not something you really decide to do, it's a affected split second decision. So the point is whether it's good to be ready for it or not... Hunger strike is not really anything close to this. – yo' – 2018-02-07T17:39:37.590

It's a Question & Answer site, not a Question and Non-answer site. Please have a look at the help center's Answers section. – anongoodnurse – 2018-02-07T17:41:27.037