DownTime's picture

Approaching Parents

Some background upon myself and my family situation before I begin delving into the details:

  • I am a 16 years old.
  • I am highly intelligent. I am currently my class's valedictorian, I have skipped a grade, I'm going to attend college early.
  • I will be granted the position of emancipated minor in roughly three months out of necessity (as I said, I am attending college early).
  • My parents are immigrants from the Middle East, and are thus socially conservative.
  • I'm class president.
  • I have demonstrated a role of responsibility, as I work for local political campaigns and do at least 10 hours of community service a week out of choice.

My situation is as follows: My parents strongly oppose the idea of me having a girlfriend, but have grudgingly allowed me to have a relationship. They do not allow me to see her without a group of four or more people present with us. While I do understand their position, and the reasons as to why it's in place, I am not in agreement with the position in the least. I will most likely be leaving the state in less than one year to study in a college, and they act as though I have no control or knowledge of my actions or their consequences - both short-term and long-term. Whenever I bring up the possibility of me and my girlfriend going out to the mall, they act as though I've just asked if I can take a camping trip with her. I believe they fear emotional attachment or a possible over-sexualization of the relationship, but that ultimately becomes my decision guided by their advice and my own set of morals and social rules (do not misinterpret me - I have no intentions of having sex or doing something I will later regret).

I feel as though they don't allow me to experience life as I should be experiencing it (for example, I had to argue with them so that they would allow me to go to prom - with the compromise of my return thirty minutes before the dance ends), and that I have have to begin making decisions for myself. I would love to approach them in a manner in which they would listen to me fairly, weighing my opinions as they are instead of ignoring whatever input I have to the matter and asserting that their opinion is always correct, despite whatever wall of facts and statistics I present to them.

I'm beginning to grow tired of their ultra-conservative social views. For example, I have never been to a sleepover in my life, nor have I ever hosted a sleepover, nor have I ever had friends over past ten o' clock. I have never been camping, been away from home without a parent present at all times, never lived alone for more than one hour. They act as though they are allowing me some sort of unusual privilege in letting me go to prom. I have no idea what to do to let them know that their job of parenting me is almost finished; that whatever they've taught me over the years will become of use to me when I leave the house in less than one year. They've done a superlative job of preparing me for life in everything but social life. Socially, I've been shielded my entire life; I've not been allowed to experience much.

I wonder what I could do to bring a solution to this situation, because it is becoming more and more evident that they will not listen to anything I say. I feel as though I'm drifting away from my parents, and that's not something I want. I don't want to end up like those people who have a bad relationship with their parents. I want them to understand that I am, or rather, I will be, an adult (legally) in three months, and that I should not be treated as though I were a child.

acitez's picture

I know this feels like forever, and asking YOU at 16 and 3/4 to be the mature one is asking a lot. As far as having been shielded socially--um, you are quite active socially, you are class president and do community service 10 hours a week. That has developed your social skills. Your "hanging out" skills may be a little thin, but I don't think that is going to impact you negatively.

Chill. It's not forever. I know you feel like you should be treated like an adult because you behave maturely. For your parents, you are their nestling, and they want to be sure you don't fall out of the nest until you are fully fledged, ready to fly. For them, seeing you smashed on the sidewalk is as real a possibility as seeing you soar. They'll let go, when it is time.

2xstepmom's picture

First, you should be so proud of yourself and your many, many accomplishments!!!! You have such a great start in life and are very articulate!

Next, you are being raised as I was in the early 70's and I felt as you are feeling. Yes, times have changed, BUT, you have your whole adult life to have your freedom. Trust me, you will look back and cherish this time in your life when you are older. You are a fortunate young person to have parents who love you and strive to protect you. Let them, and when you are on your own in a few short months, you will have the opportunity to experience the many things you feel you are missing now. The time will fly by and you will be on your own before you know it. Continue to maintain and value the good relationship you have with your parents.

And, your parents job of parenting you will NEVER be finished, almost or otherwise. My 94 y/o mother still parents me and I am grateful to her. When you have a child of your own you will understand. For now, be thankful for their love, care and concern.