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Adolescence That fiery time prior to your child becoming a teenager. Their bodies are filled with hormones and turmoil. How are you coping?

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Old 12-16-2004, 12:34 PM
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20 year old seeking advice from parents

Hey. I'm not sure if this is the appropriate place to be asking for such advice, but there don't seem to be many websites out there aimed toward helping young adults relate to their parents.

I am a 20 year old college student who gets along with her parents very well, and the issue isn't really about me. It's about my boyfriend. He is also 20 and his parents have problems with treating him like an adult.

He goes to a college where most people live on campus, but his parents force him to live at home and commute half an hour each way in busy traffic (which I, coming from a small town, wouldn't even feel safe or comfortable driving in at all). They fail to realize the effect this has on him. The other students at his college create friendships by living together, and living at home has had a huge negative impact on his social life. WHile most of his friends from high school are out of town, his parents are making him attend a local college and live in their house. This is sad to me because he is a very intelligent guy who would be capable of doing well at a much better school than they're having him attend. Because they're so unwilling to let go, he's not realizing his full academic potential.

Their rationalization for this is that they don't have money, but my family has less than his and, throught the help of financial aid, is still managing to send me to an expensive private school far from home. According to his parents, the financial offers they received from other colleges aren't good enough. But if that's the case, I fail to understand how they are able to send each of his four younger siblings to pricey Catholic primary and secondary schools.

None of this would be so bad if they weren't so restrictive of him socially. They try to make him come home at midnight. When he spends the night at a friend's dorm because he's too tired to make the trek home late at night, they give him hell. They expect him to work two jobs and take 18 credits' worth of classes every semester. Then they pick on him because he doesn't have any extracurriculars. The biggest blow is that he recently got a C in his English class. He tells me he can probably kiss his social life goodbye for a while. He has four A's, a B, and this C this semester for a total GPA of 3.6, but that doesn't matter. They will yell at him for not working hard enough even though half the time that is because he is watching their other kids for them.

I can understand this kind of limitation on a high school student. But he is 20. He is an adult. This situation is so baffling to me because I have parents who don't interfere in my personal decisions. They realize that I am grown up and capable of thinking for myself. When I am home from college, I can stay out as late as I want provided that I don't create a disturbance when I come in. Nobody else our age is saddled with this kind of pressure. So I ask you parents for advice--how would you tell him to handle this situation? What can he do? Though he is an adult, he is still quite financially dependent on his parents, so he has to tread lightly. Thanks a lot.
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Old 07-15-2008, 02:36 PM
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I think this thread is really old, but i'm sure there will be more young people facing this situation in the future so here's my two cents:

I know this situation all to well. When I was 18, my older sister had a 20 yr old bf who was in a nearly identical situation as your bf; went to community college rather than the 4 yr university he wished to attend to stay at home and help his father (a church pastor) run the church, parents always heckled him, accused him of absurd things, like being on drugs and goofing around at school although he did the best he could given the workload he had (he also worked full time). Needless to say, he was a very unhappy individual, and eventually he worked up the courage to "rebel" against them, for lack of a better word. Sadly enough, within a couple of months they had kicked him out of the house, stopped paying his tuition, and revoked his car (which HE was paying for), cell phone, guitar, dog, anything else that meant anything to him. He and his parents didn't speak for years (not that HE didn't make an effort to reach out to them) and he had to immediately drop all his classes so that he could focus on work and making enough money to afford a place to live, a new car, etc, etc...

The moral of my story? pride is a hard pill to swallow, i know, but sometimes it pays off to just stick it out til the end (if you can bear it that long) Not that i'm justifying the way his parents treated him one bit; i'm only saying that your bf should seriously consider the things at stake before rocking the boat with his parents. With parents like that, sometimes trying to change their perspective is like trying to defy gravity; it can't be done, and it'll only cause more tension or even resentment between them. Encourage him to talk to his parents about it, because you're right, he is an adult and he does deserve more independence and respect than he's getting, but don't push it too hard and don't step in the middle, let him bear this cross but be there for him if he starts to fall.
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