But mommmm!: Getting your parents to let you grow up
You know those "disagreements" (aka, all-out screaming matches) you have with your parents? The ones where you feel like they're treating you like a child when all you're trying to say is that you're capable of taking responsibility for yourself? You argue that going on a date alone isn't a big deal and they think it is. You say that everyone's going to a hotel or camping after prom, they say everyone but you. Back and forth, back and forth. Eventually things are resolved and you move on...unless your name is Daisy Morin and your mom decides to write an article for a national magazine about your private, family "disagreement."
Daisy is a senior at Stanford University and this year she ended up in a co-ed room. Yup, she's sharing a room--not a suite--with boys and girls. The arrangement is part of the university's gender-neutral housing option, a new program meant to ease living situations for transgender students. Daisy has no problem with her co-ed quarters. Her mom totally does. So her mom writes this article about the sitch and it gets picked up by the New York Times. Suddenly the whole world is weighing in on what Daisy describes as a conflict that has, "very little to do with Stanford and gender-neutral housing. It has everything to do with my parents having a hard time adjusting to the fact that I’m out of the house (I’m the oldest), I’m 3,000 miles away, and especially that I’m a liberal agnostic while they are conservative Catholics."
So what do you do when your parents just won't let you grow up?
Daisy chose to write a thoughtful, clear response to the New York Times, explaining her position. But if you're lucky enough to be able to keep these conversations private, there are some things to keep in mind:
- Parents usually respond well when you're calm and rational--they're not huge fans of whiny pleading. Show them that you know how to have a mature, adult conversation.
- Never, ever use the "but everyone else's parents said yes" logic. That almost guarantees a knee-jerk "No!" response.
- And of course, speak in complete sentences when stating your case; steer clear of mumbo-jumbo.
So, using these guidelines, here's how the negotiation might go:
You: Mom, Dad (or other such parental figure), I think we should talk about me being able to go on a date...alone. Without a group of friends.
Mom/Dad/Other such parental figure: No way! If you go out alone you might get drunk and drive to a casino and gamble away your entire summer-job-savings and then find a hotel room and get pregnant.
You: Hmmm. I don't think so. I just want to go see the new Star Trek movie. And we'll even go to the early show at 7:00 so I can be home by curfew.
Mom/Dad/Other such parental figure: But how are we supposed to believe that you'll actually go see the movie and not just go make out in a car somewhere and then go get drunk and drive to a casino and gamble away your entire summer-job-savings and then find a hotel room and get pregnant?
You: Cause I really want to see the movie.
Mom/Dad/Other such parental figure: Well, we want to see that movie too. Why don't we escort you on this date and sit behind you and throw popcorn and candy in your hair and peek over your shoulder to make sure you're just holding hands and NOTHING MORE!
You: Ummm, can't you just trust that I'm not going to do anything stupid?
Mom/Dad/Other such parental figure: NOOOOO! (they start screaming and kicking and generally throwing a giant tantrum.)
Soooo, maybe that convo didn't quite work out. Sometimes even your most mature efforts are squashed cause, you know, parents make the rules. How do you get your parents to give you more freedom and let you make your own decisions?