My parents are very overprotective. They don’t let me do much of anything. It’s not as though they have rules against me doing things, but doing anything outside home is discouraged and thwarted. If I wanted to, say, go to the beach or ice skating or something, it would take a lot of convincing, and most of the time it just wouldn’t happen. I think that trying to convince them to let me take lessons of some sort, as in ballet or gymnastics, would be nearly impossible. As of now, the only things I do outside home are shopping sometimes, library, and Mass (no youth group activities or anything). I am homeschooled. Ever since I started homeschooling (maybe 9 years ago), I have had no friends. Boys? Not a chance. I am now 18. I am starting to hate my life. I hide my dreams and interests, for fear of them being disregarded as silly and meaningless. My parents only encourage me do things if it coincides with how they want my life to be. They don’t let me be who I am. I am very introverted and often hide my feelings, I can’t talk to them about their overprotectiveness. I don’t know what to do. I plan on going to college next year, but there is so much that I want to do before then. I can’t establish my self and my life when I am stuck at home with nothing to do but use the computer, read books, do school, watch tv, and stuff like that. I feel so limited. I hope someone will have some advice on how to convince my parents to let me do things, and how to reassure them that I won’t be morally corrupted or injured for life or whatever because of it.
you state you are 18y/o do you work? could you afford to move out and live in your own place?
I don’t work, and I want to wait until I get my high school degree before leaving home. I don’t think moving out is really an option. To even suggest such a thing to my parents would be pretty much unthinkable. It would be such a shock to them, because on the outside I seem to be ok with my life. And it would hurt them, I couldn’t do it.
Sorry I assumed since you where 18 you finished High SChool already.
Cant you tell them how you feel? I think it may be time to stand up for yourself and your feelings (in a polite way of course)
I would let them know that you are a human being, not a china doll. What they are doing to you is actually very harmful, being so controlling. They are literally setting you up to either not know how to handle “the real world” or to end up later in life choosing a controlling husband since that is all that you know.
I think it is really important that you learn to speak up and look out for yourself. Somehow you are going to need to find your own voice.
also I have to ask if they are as controlling as you state…will they let you go to college next year?
Well, speaking as a mother myself (mine are 24, 23 and 21 so I have some idea where you’re coming from), these words of yours jumped out at me:
You hide your feelings. You know, your parents are not mind readers. If you aren’t showing or telling that you feel dissatisfied, overprotected, etc., why would they think that you are not satisfied with your life?
My children would often tell me (after the fact) how they had agonized over telling me something because they would go through all sorts of scenarios in their minds about how I would ‘react’–only to be astonished when after the ‘something’ came to light that I acted in what to them was a completely ‘unexpected’ way. They had been worrying, they had been resenting, they had been pretty much putting themselves through agony, over something which was imaginary–their perception of what I would do.
The other thing that leaped out at me was that basically you’re stating that you have all these dreams and things that you want to do, but you ‘think’ your parents will disregard them as ‘silly and meaningless’ so you ‘hide them.’
OK. You tell me you have been homeschooled for several years. That is usually not something which ‘indifferent’ parents do. So right there you have some pretty strong evidence that your parents care for you. You have some pretty strong evidence that your parents want you to proceed at your own pace, and that they want you to develop your own interests. And you really haven’t mentioned anything that shows them to be pushing you in a certain direction. . .which seems to me to indicate that they are waiting for YOU to tell them what you want. . .and if you’re not telling them anything, they think that things are the way you wish them to be. As a parent, that would certainly be what I would be thinking (and did).
Let me add, though, that having lived through this period, I do understand that even though to most adults the above paragraph seems perfectly logical, most teens do go through some sort of dark night of the soul. The evidence that I give that the parent is interested just doesn’t cut it with them. Years of parental love and care seem to ‘fly out the window’ when a child/teen is at a certain age or stage; it happened with my children, my friend’s children. . .heck once very long ago I was the child who questioned my mother’s care for me.
You’re going through a normal period in development where you are preparing to separate from the ‘family’ and become an ‘individual’. It’s normal. And it’s scary. You want simultaneously the ‘freedom’ of an adult, and the security of being a child. It’s normal.
You’re still nervous about what your parents might say or think. It’s normal. A part of you is still convinced that if they **really ** loved you they’d know what is wrong and correct it. . .even if you aren’t really sure what you want right now. (It’s normal).
When you are ready, you will talk to your parents. 99 times out of 100 they will be as ready to help you as they always have been, and any misunderstandings will clear up quickly because they do have your best interests at heart.
You might want to start breaking the ice by asking Mom (or Dad) if what they wanted to do at your age was what they wound up doing (it probably isn’t). This doesn’t ‘commit’ you to anything and it may help you learn some interesting things about your parents, which can only help improve the relationship. (because what you really need to do in this mom’s opinion is talk).
God bless you, hon. . .and your parents too. I wish you all the best on your journey.
why not write them a letter similar to the one you have written here and give it to them. In this letter I think you should first whether you believe it or not thank them for what they have done for you. This may include if nothing else providing you with a catholic faith and the other necessities such as food and clothes. This will set a positive atmosphere to begin with so they might be willig to listen. After you are finished thanking them, explain how you feel and question their reasoning for being so over protective. My guess is that there were certain events in your parents’ lives which made them be so overly protective over you. Next try to convince them how unhappy you are but since you love them you don’t want to show it. Perhaps write down some ideas you have of how you can have some fun with their approval. And finally, give a very nice ultimatum. I think you should end with a fair warning at what could happen if they continue to inhibit you so much. State that you are 18 and soon will be free to make your own life decisons. You should highly suggest that if yor parents don’t help or allow you to make some good connections this year then they are taking a chance that down the road bad things will happen to you do to your ignorance or behaviors/personality you developed. Explain how that you love them very much but if they don’t allow for some change then they face the chance of ruining their relationship with you some time in the future.
Here is a final thought. Perhaps you can show your parents this forum and what you and the others have written here. Maybe they can be influenced by a buch of other good practicing Catholics.
You described my fiancee’s situation from about 3-4 years ago. Your parents are doing you a grave disservice.
When I was friends with my fiancee, he had no job, no idea how to get a job, no support system, no future goals, no autonomy at all.
He was 17, but his ability level, maturity level and experience level was probably that of an 11 or 12 year old.
You need to really sit down and decide what God is calling you to do and be. Your parents are raising you to be 100% dependent on them. You do not know how to get a job. You are probably terrified of it. Do you know how to socialize? To make friends and be out in the world? Do you know how to balance a checkbook? Buy a car? Be safe in a scary world? Handle a credit card? Cook, budget, buy food, care for your body?
Eighteen is a great time to figure things out. Go apply for some jobs. On your own. Can you do it? Walk to a store to get an application? Call back to confirm an interview? Dress appropriately?
Can you choose your own college and decide on the loans? Do you know how to navigate admissions?
Can you figure out how to be a friend and make friends? Do you know how to choose wisely? Do you know who would make a good, Godly mate? Who is to be avoided? How you can be hurt?
You are losing your personhood and your stunted growth is going to compound and set you back many years from your counterparts.
For example, I had held 2 fulltime jobs (not counting odd mowing/babysitting jobs) and had a management job when I started dating my fiancee. He had never even thought to get one at that time.
That puts you on a big setback. And don’t think college will solve it all. You will be all alone at college. If your parents are pocketing the cost of that, I doubt you’ll really enjoy or take advantage of all it has to offer. Most likely you won’t know who you are or what you want to do. You’ll float around, waste their money and get into a lot of trouble, or barely pass into a so-so degree that has nothing to do with your calling in life.
P.s if you weren’t one year off, I’d have sworn you were his younger sister.
Take heart, learning all these new things can bring you up to speed and it is very enjoyable.
There is not time period for experience. You can learn it all at once.
locket…I grew up the same way. I wasn’t homeschooled, but my parents were extremely protective of me and my siblings. They were good parents and loved us, but sometimes it was like suffocating. I never was allowed to do anything by myself, and I never slept over at a friend’s house or went to birthday parties. Once I got to be 14, 15 or so I just stopped asking b/c I knew the answer would be no.
What helped me was getting a part time job. It took convinving for them to let me do it, but I was 16 and they knew they had to loosen their grip just slightly. The more they view you as having your own, grown up responsibilities, the easier it may get for you. Like I said, this is what worked for me, it might not for you. But it’s a thought. Just something easy…retail for a few hours a week. Something to get you out there though.
Not to insult you, or question your integrity…
Have you ever done anything to undermine your parents trust in the past?? Or has your family had a bad experience with someone in the past?? Just a question.
From your description it sounds like they are just over-protective. They will have to realize that “the cord” will need to be cut soon.
They also need to realize that you need some tools to survive as well. These “tools” include exposure to the “real world” which does include some pretty ugly things - dishonesty, deceit, sex, drugs, crime. And some positive things - responsibility to a job, duties, financial independance & money management, and personal goals!
It is a dis-service to you, and a lack of parenting on their part not to expose you to what is out there, and to just how low people will go to get what they want… especially using a “nice” person who is naive to get there… OR allowing you to succeed and become an independent person. (Warning here - becoming independent usually involves falling flat on your face HARD one or two times…but Mom & Dad are there to help if you’re lucky).
I’m not saying to dump you on a street corner and “sink or swim” (which was practically my personal situation), but give you as many small bites as you can swallow, and one or two that’ll make you gag a bit.
Do you have any basic “survival” skills or tools?? I’m not talking about making fire from flint & steel here, but:
Can you do your own laundry?
Can you Cook?
Have your own Checking/Debit account?
Have a credit card (opened by you, your name only)?
Any credit history at all?
Have your own car - even the old family beater, but in your name?
Could you navigate your way through an apartment rental agreement, and UNDERSTAND what you’re reading/signing?
These are all things that you need to get started NOW. As posted a part-time job is a great way to start. Once employed a few months apply for a gasoline credit card, or buy something (small) on “in-store” credit (and pay it off). Depending on the job there may be a Credit Union associated with the trade…open your own account there. Build some personal history that’s not tied to Mom & Dad.
Locket, I’m so sorry for you! I know 100% what you’re going through. I’m 27 and I’m just now starting to feel like I’m “over” that time in my life.
I wasn’t homeschooled, but I might as well have been. Instead of being well-behaved like you, though, I thought, “Well, if they don’t like what I have to say anyway, and won’t let me do anything, what if I just did what I wanted and thought what I wanted and told them what they wanted to hear?” Which led to lying non-stop my senior year in high school, sneaking around in college, and becoming a crazy keg-guzzling sorority girl by 22. After college, I left the country for a year, just to MAKE myself survive on my own and to sever all ties from that dependent self I so hated.
It took lots of therapy and my wedding to get things straightened out.
I guess the best advice I have is to really understand why they are being so crazy about protecting you. In my situation, I had an older brother who died, so they were always afraid, “Oh, if she goes to the movies SHE’S GOING TO DIE!” or “If she goes Christmas caroling, SHE’S GOING TO DIE!” Once I realized that was the case (by really thinking about it, and straight out asking them why they were so overprotective) I started seeing them in a human way, and started realizing what I could do to help them.
What I mean is this… now, when I talk to my father on the phone and he starts freaking out about my safety, I go through my “safety checklist.” “Dad, I know I went to the mall without my husband, but I have mace in my purse, I parked in a well-lit garage, and I made sure to look both ways before crossing the parking lot.”
So, if you understand what their issue is, you could develop a way to calm their fears. Take them to the college you are interested in. Introduce them to the youth group leader at your church. Think about a job you would like to have, and take them there first. Introduce them to your manager.
It’s like people who have phobias. If your parents had a spider phobia, you would first show them a picture of a spider. Then maybe a movie with a spider. Then a spider behind glass. Then a spider out in the open. Eventually a spider on their hand (eww… no way!). Step by step they will see that a) you are responsible and b) that the world is a scary place, but not one you can retreat from forever…
Good luck! Prayers are with you!
Friendships are important. I’m sure you feel the hurt from that. I’ve been there. You should check into Christian colleges with strong fellowship. You don’t want to get stuck somewhere with no one to talk to. Another idea - work at a home. I know that sounds kind of funny, but I have a friend who’s stuck in a college with no one to talk to (except me!) and he says working there (at the old-folks home) was really good for him. Young people work at those places. I don’t know why. But it’s a good job if you’re looking for fellowship.