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How do I convince my parents that I'm an adult? They have my entire college schedule mapped out and a GPS on my phone!

Tagged as: Family, Teenage<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (13 January 2018) 11 Answers - (Newest, 3 February 2018)
A female United States age 18-21, *shleighkaylin writes:

I'm new in here and I've tried to help others and so far I hope I'm doing a good job. But now, I need some advice on how to convince my parents that I am an adult and deserve more privacy and freedom.

I'm a college student and to be honest, I'm very lucky my parents LET me go away to college. My mom teaches at Community College in my hometown and they wanted me to either go there and live at home or else go to Bible College and major in music there (mostly because they have a curfew and mandatory chapel and most of my classmates go there so I'd have an accountability buddy). Thankfully, our school DIDN'T have a marching band and we all took private music lessons, usually from people from church. Because of that, I was introduced to Youth Orchestra and District III Honors Band at a very young age. I'm not trying to be conceited, but I got accepted into both in the sixth grade (Harp for Youth Orchestra and French Horn for District III). I've also been playing piano since I was four years old and I've played for our church and even a few weddings. It was our pastor who said that it would be a tremendous waste of God-given talent not to let me go to a college that was giving me a scholarship. Even though the ones who personally mailed me letters, asking me to try out starting back in my freshman year in HS.

It was Pastor Andrews who sat my parents down and convinced them it really is OK for me to go to college 3.5 hours away from home. They were really concerned because they can't come get me every weekend AND because in order to be a Music Education/Music Performance major, you HAVE to be in marching band. I had absolutely NO marching band experience at all so they had to let me attend another Christian school's band camp just so I could learn commands and marching skills. They rearranged their whole schedules to make sure they were there for all the practices and sat there the whole time and would NOT let me talk to any of the other kids during breaks because they didn't know them well enough. So they already thought I was really weird. So there's that. That prepared me a little for band camp up at college, but my parents wouldn't let me stay in the dorm and they did the exact same thing except they rented a hotel for that week and sat through all the practices too. It was really embarrassing and not a very good social start for me because of that. They were worried about the other college students corrupting me!

So. They sat down with Pastor Andrews and decided that I could go to college there but ONLY because he found a few families in a sister church in College Town who were willing to take me in on the weekends. I mean, they pick me up Friday night and drop me off back at my dorm Monday morning and my parents buy the tickets so they can go to the games I have to go to. It's a really big hassle and it's frustrating because there is close to no social time with other students. I do get to socialize during the week, but my parents have their fingers in that too.

Like I said, my mom IS a college professor, so she knows how classes and tests and so on work. She insisted on registering me for my classes to make sure that I was taking the proper ones (I wanted to figure that out!) and to make sure that they were as early in the day as possible so that I would not be sleeping in/staying up late. (That was a rule in the house that I was not allowed to sleep in past 6am unless I was sick but another thing I was looking forward to was actually sleeping in for once since I've been chronically exhausted for as long as I can remember). Also, Mom wants/has all my passwords for classes and everything so she can check my progress and my grades as I go. My dad even sat down and made an Excel chart for each week for the times I was supposed to be studying what, reading what, practicing what, and where I was doing that (as in which building). He even mapped out where I should go for lunch and dinner based on his tours of the campus and the eateries there. I swear the first thing I did was go to the coffee shop and try a coffee since I've never been allowed to have it before. It wasn't that great, but I'm addicted to mochas and Chai teas, thankfully our student meal card isn't that detailed because they get all the statements. It's just really sad that I have to rebel against them just to do normal things everyone else does every day.

Well, I did something that was considered really bad and I got caught. Now, my parents are really saying they're wondering if I should go back at all because of it! I'm in my second semester but it was when they drove me back that they found out about about the gift from one of my roommates.

I told you that my dad had mapped out my days on Excel charts, but randomly throughout the day my parents will text and ask for a picture of where I am and sometimes they call and ask to speak to a librarian or a professor if I say I'm in his/her office hours to verify that I'm there. That's how I found out they had a GPS on my phone. I didn't realize they trusted me that little. Well, I'd taken a bunch of random pictures around campus to show that I was in the library or wherever but one day I was at the mall. One of my roommates comes from MONEY and when I was doing laundry she laughed at my underwear. My mom had this real weird strict rule that I'm only allowed to wear plain white "granny panties", sports bras with undershirts over it and plain tights or pantyhose. I explained all that and Caitee said, "I'm taking you shopping".

She took me to the mall and right to this very sexy expensive store. I was afraid to go in there and I didn't want to spend her parents' money, but she talked me into five pairs of pretty panties (just bikini briefs, no thongs) in various colors and a pretty lacy bra that matched plus to cami's and a pair of patterned tights. Believe me, I cringed when I heard the bill but she had a credit card to the place.

I'd been getting all kinds of texts from my parents, and phone calls that I'd been ignoring. I keep texting back saying my phone was low on charge, I was busy, and even pictures of buildings and things so they'd think I was studying or eating. They were blowing up my phone, wanting to talk to me or someone who could verify that I was where I said I was. Well, we were walking through the food court when Mr. Wierzbicki and his wife (one of the families that keep me for weekends) called my name. Mom and Dad had called all the families and told them to come looking for me! That's how I found out about the GPS, they'd figured out where I was and wanted to know what I was doing off campus. The Wierzbicki's and my parents were really mad and it was totally embarrassing. They also wanted to know why I was carrying a bag from that store because that is the LAST place my parents would EVER let me shop and part of the reason why I was never allowed in the mall in the first place, stores like that.

My roommates were able to convince them I was only carrying the bags but still...

I thought that was over the top though. Sorry that was such a rant but how do I convince them I am an adult?

View related questions: bra , christian, money, roommate, text, underwear, wedding

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A female reader, ashleighkaylin United States +, writes (3 February 2018):

ashleighkaylin is verified as being by the original poster of the question

ashleighkaylin agony auntI realized that my mother’s problem with the underwear thing is twofold: she likes all white everything because you can bleach it, she likes granny panties and sports bras with undershirts because there’s more coverage and I’m heavy-chested and wide-hipped. I’m not fat, I’m a 38-C and my hips are 36” though and getting measured was AWKWARD. But she’s afraid that even with clothes on, she’s afraid of drawing attention to myself which I don’t like doing either but still. I like feeling pretty and feminine even though no one sees it besides me, my roommates by accident and whomever is around when I’m doing laundry. Oh, she likes the plain pantyhose because they’re cheaper and the ones I like with the patterns draw attention to my legs. Her SECOND problem is that she thought that if I were to alternate staying with the W’s, S’s and P’s (the families) on weekends, that I would be setting an example to their teen daughters. Also, the P’s have teen sons and they didn’t want them to see my laundry and get ideas. To me, it’s none of their business anyway what kind of underwear I wear. My mom is actually most upset by the stockings because they’re thigh-highs and they’re mostly patterned. I like having less material to contend with when I’m wearing a skirt, panties, slip, hose… it’s too much! She is also super-worried that I’m going to change my whole wardrobe but that’s the point! I exactly planned to do that before I moved away because I don’t want my outfits to just scream high school student. I’ll post on that problem later but I wanted to give you an update.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (16 January 2018):

Do not talk to a Christian consular .Talk to one with an actual education.Many of those so called Christian ones have no education in this at all.And you are grateful for your pastor that micro manages you and your parents life?See a real consular.Let them show you how to think for yourself.Beliveing in God does not mean letting your church rule your life..God wants you to do that for yourself.Think for yourself.You need to distance your self from the church control and the parent control...you are a grown up now.

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A female reader, Stepmama United States +, writes (15 January 2018):

I bet your parents mean well but are acting through fear. It’s time for them to stop micro managing your life, regardless of intent. Talk to a Christian counselor who will intervene. Acknowledge their concerns and remind them you remember values they taught you. I have seen this in my own family and you will all be ok, hugs

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (14 January 2018):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntThis is ridiculous. Look, if they don't pay for you to survive, then set your own rules.

Don't sneak around, like with a burner phone. Get a proper phone, but don't allow them access to it - give them back the one they control.

Change your email address or whatever it is that sends them notifications about website visits. Also go to your bank and remove their access to it.

Be responsible. Little experiments with coffee and underwear styles are healthy, but don't go too far. Act like an adult. Do this the right way, upfront and honestly, or you'll prove your parents were correct in being overprotective and distrustful of your maturity.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (14 January 2018):

Honeypie agony auntHow do you convince them?

You can't.

They see you as a sheltered little girl, because you ARE their little girl, regardless of age.

Being 18 doesn't MAKE you an adult. Being away at college doesn't make you an adult either. ACTING like an adult does.

I remember older posts from you over this topic.

You grew UP in this religious family so I will presume you parents wanted you to adhere to these out of morals, values and religious beliefs THEY follow and you also to a point have followed.

So why does it surprise you that they didn't say - off to college with you, DO as you want!?

They KNOW that young people who have been raised (like you) in a sheltered lifestyle are not at all street smart, people take advantage and young people like yourself fall EASIER prey to not only temptations but to other people who DO NOT care for you.

You parents didn't WANT you going away for college because they FEAR how other people (who don't belong to your/their particular faith) will lead you AWAY from your/their particular faith/belief system.

You said the FIRST thing you did was get a coffee. So your FIRST action away from your family was to rebel. For most of us getting a cup of coffee seems like no big deal, but OBVIOUSLY your faith/belief system doesn't condone it. So your VERY first action was to DISREGARD the "rules" of your faith. And you wonder why your parents are so overprotective?

Same with the underwear. For most of us lingerie, frilly underwear is no big deal - but IN your faith, your upbringing this is not something they approve of. Again, you KNEW that and STILL did it. So, I ask again, you wonder why your parents are so overprotective?

THEY know you. They WANT you to succeed with your education, they DON'T want you to "assimilate" to "outside world" away from your faith.

You have to make a choice here. Do you want to go back (at some point) to your family's faith/religion or do you want to separate yourself from them. DO YOU share your parents religious beliefs or not?

This goes WAY beyond "I can do what I want because I'm 18!"

You AGREED to the rules of spending your weekends with a family of your parents/church choosing. Now you have decided that well, that isn't fun and it's cramping your style.

The reason they LET you go away for college was with certain rules (which you have left out of your little post) Because I BET you bottom dollar that you KNEW the "rules". your Pastor was "nice" enough to negotiate these so you COULD get the opportunity to go away for college.

Again, this isn't so black and white as you paint the picture.

If you don't want your parents to do a GPS tracking on you, you disable it or you SHUT your phone off. I mean ANYONE can google that stuff.

If you feel your dad's spreadsheets are just TOO restrictive you MAKE your own and SHOW them that you are taking your education serious. TALK to them.

All these rules and limitations are not NEW to you. You just presume that because they can't SEE you, you can do what you want.

You ask strangers on a forum who are 90% more likely to be WAY more "liberal" in our choices for us and our kids - the thing is... I can't tell you to DO what you want, because you are NOT my responsibility or child.

So while I can't agree with people doing this to their kid, I DO see where they are coming from. And SO do you. If you think about it.

So, no I'm not going to tell you that you are an adult and you can do what you want. Instead I'm telling you to BEHAVE, think and ACT like and adult and have THIS conversation with your family/church.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (14 January 2018):

First of all, thank you for replying so quickly. All of you sound like my roommates. I didn't mean to end my post so abruptly - I was on the library computer and those are timed, I'd have to be jumping from computer to computer to finish this! I don't dare use my laptop or tablet or phone because my parents get an e-mail of each site I visit.

I meant to say that the W family got frantic phone calls from my parents because they had checked my location many times before. I found this out recently. They showed me that it WILL show if I'm on campus or not. We did tell the W's that the Victoria's Secret bag was Caitee's, but when my parents came to get me over Christmas break they went through my underwear drawer. It's not my religion, it's my mom who is serious about that. Neither one of them like the store ot many other stores. Caitee's got so mad about the W's taking me home with them that she went and bought even MORE bras and panties and fun stockings for me. I plan to pay her back somehow.

As for my scholarship, it covers all but dorm costs but it helps a lot. I'm not allowed to get a job, but I've been thinking of advertising music lessons or even working in the campus bookstore or coffee shop. I DO have to be careful, though, since I'm taking a really full course load. I got a B in both American Government and College Algebra last semester. I got A's in everything else but I want better grades. I'm hoping for more scholarships.

My parents are crazy, that's for sure, but all my friends growing up had super strict parents. If it wasn't for Pastor, though, I wouldn't be allowed to BE here st all. We're not cultists, we're Independent Baptist. My parents weren't originally, though. My parents are 71 and 57 and I have three half siblings in their 30's and 40's. My dad used to be a real bad alcoholic before I was born. My older siblings were all messed up because of it. They keep saying too much freedom and too much exposure to worldly people will kill my spirit.

I am getting a burner phone, though, so I can connect with people without my parents knowing. I just might take your advice and ask my other roommate (she's nice) if we can get an efficiency. Right now, I need $ though -without my parents knowing. They have my bank account info, though.

Sorry to be short, I'm posting from my other roommate's phone.

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (14 January 2018):

aunt honesty agony auntYou are an adult now and you need to tell yourself that. They are controlling your life and the only way to stop that is to tell them enough is enough. You need to stand on your own feet now don’t accept any money from them if you need to get a part time job to earn your own money and find a place to rent. Don’t give them a choice simply tell them you are now an adult and you will make your own decisions, tell them if they keep doing this they will loose you forever.

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A female reader, CassieMosswing United Kingdom +, writes (13 January 2018):

CassieMosswing agony auntYeah, live with your friends in a apartment and also try looking for a job. You shouldn't put up with this. It seems...so ridiculous. You shouldn't let them control you like that. You need to stand your ground with them. This is a disaster. You got to nix to their boundaries. You really have insufferable parents so the best way is to...move in college with your roommates...and decide what you really want to do at college instead of your christian dictating family. You're in a second trimester right? Get yourself a scholarship if you don't have one.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (13 January 2018):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntCut the apron strings. Become financially independent, send them the phone back (you don't need a fancy phone), then tell them "I will call you once per week on a _____ to update you. You are controlling my life and I won't learn to thrive on my own, unless you trust me to figure things out for myself. Please don't argue with me; it's not up for debate."

Maybe the only way for them to listen is to give them no choice. They probably won't react well, but you have to act like an adult to be taken seriously as one.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (13 January 2018):

Oh my god. You said you are at university on a scholarship, right? So your education does not depend on your parents financially supporting you?

If I were you, I would cut contact. Not permenanty, but enough so that try get the idea. Find a way to get rid of the GPS, find out how you can change your passwords and become more independent.

And I was annoyed at my parents for not letting me study halfway across the world...

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (13 January 2018):

Did your scholarship include dorm fees?Get a job if not.Get a apartment with room mates.Support yourself and only then you can have your freedom and Independence.Get your own phone and send them back the one they gave you.You are over 18 you are an adult.If those church people follow you or spy on you call the police have them charged with stalking and get a restraining order.Your parents are way over the top as their behavior is not normal.The way they have to run everything by their pastor is not normal.It seems a little cultish to me.For a while though I would always go out with friends and not alone because people like your parents might try to kidnap you I mean look they have crazy church people already following you so this is not far from happening.Go to your schools consuling center and get help with this so you can stay safe.God would not approve with the way you are being treated.

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