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Are My Parents Too Protective

I'm 20, in college. My mother can't seem to trust my own decisions. Example, my boyfriend of 1.6 years is going on vacation with his family, I was invited and my mother told me that I was incapable of making these types of decisions until I'm 30. I've given her no reason to say no. What should I do?

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 ---Allison on 5/17/09
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It is the role of a parent is to raise and teach a child to be adults. When they are younger, you do that by controlling their decisions by helping to see what is right and wrong. You guide them towards the way they should go.

Once a child becomes older, they should be making thier own decisions, based on the teachings you gave them.

It is frustrating to see young people running off to college, still tied to mommy's apron strings. At this time in their life they should be allowed to make mistakes, that's how they grow.
---NurseRobert on 7/19/11

wow your mom has brainwashed YOU!

sadly your mother is excessively controlling!!! she truly needs to seek help

parents who have RESPECT for their adult children will understand they have already done most of their molding during their early teenage years ...beginning about 16 years of age MORE decision making should be passed on to the soon to be adult child

however, good communication TRUST will allow a parent to help influence well beyond their legal age ...I STILL seek my parents advice and I am in my early 50's
---Rhonda on 7/18/11

If your impending college degree is due to financial support from your family and if you even live in their household, then you need to respectfully listen and do what they say. Small price to pay for all that help. If not, then you need to respectfully let her know that your independence should allow her to see that you are able to make these decisions on your own. Try to understand that your mother cares about and loves you and is having a difficult time letting go and allowing you to make these decisions for a variety of reasons but all of them are about her love for you.
---jody on 7/16/11

Please submit yourself to your parent's discipline, it is part of God's gift to you. Soon you will be able to work and sustain yourself and be able to decide. Take courage and wait patiently till that time.
---Adetunji on 7/12/11

Your mother is lost in the dark ages somewhere. And you have allowed her to do this to you. So this is your fault. You are past 18(legal age). You should be making your own decisions. Not your mother! Some young adults are married with several kids by the age of 20. Tell your mom in a nice way that you are going on vacation with your boyfriends family. And that you are old enough to take care of yourself. You are a grown woman etc..Respect her feelings,too. She loves you and may feel she is losing you to this other family. This may not be true but she may be feeling this way. Hug her and let her know no one can ever take her place in your life. You do have enough love to go around. Remember: behave yourself on vacation with this young man,also.
---Robyn on 7/7/11

whether you do what you want to do depends on where you are living. If you live with your parents and they are supporting you, it seems only right to abide by their rules. When you can support yourself in your own home, buy your own food, clothes and dr, then you are ready to make your own decisions.Your mom is wiser than you and she can see where going on a vacation with a boyfriend is a bad thing. That would put you in a comprising position and could ruin your life. Young folks just don't see it, that is why we have parents.
---shira3877 on 7/7/11

You are legally an adult. You are capable of deciding who to vote for, you can enter the military, sign a binding contract. This is your decision to make.

But do consider what you mother might be worrying about. In fact, you might ask her! Find out what's on her mind. She's been around longer than you have. She might have some concerns you haven't thought about. And listen to her respectfully. Don't get defensive. Don't let the discussion become an argument. Remember YOU will make the decision.

And perhaps by letting her "warn" you, she'll feel you are better prepared, if you decide to go.
---Donna66 on 7/6/11

You're 20. Go on the vacation if you want to go on the vacation. The idea that you can't decide anything till age 30 is ludicrous. But you do have to accept that breaking free will involve upsetting them. Frankly, they're just going to have to get used to the idea that you aren't 10 years old anymore. You can either be miserable the rest of your 20s--a decade you won't get back once it's over--or just break free and live your life.
---wynnyelle on 7/6/11

well.parents are parents until they die.Lovingly explain too mom that you are over 18,then make your decisions,but remember only you are responsible for them to God,but mom still might not be happy,but thats life.My mom was antimate about my first wife,about me not marrying her. I did and it ended in divorce,but that was my choice. God has given all of us free will,but people to counsel us also,but again seeking counsel is a choice.
---tom2 on 6/21/09

The question is--where is the hurt in the relationship with your mama? First of all, affirm, despite her faults, you love her. Aparently you see yourself differently than she does. I would advise to obey her wishes. Many a time my mom was RIGHT and I did not listen. Mom is the one in authority. Honor thy father and mother. It will be well with thee.
However, should you choose to be married, then you must cleave to your husband and honor him. Do all this without complaining and you will be a strong woman. The "torture" of listening to Mom may be like the chains Paul suffered, but you can rejoice in them. Your obedience will be a witness to her. Tell her how much you love her and how grateful you are for her.
---Colette on 5/20/09

Trish...Yeah! Who will remember our bad decisions a hundred years from now anyway?
---SusieB on 5/20/09

SusieB: The other problem with never learning to make a decision on my own is not knowing how to deal with the realities of making wrong decisions. I used to be frozen in fear of making the wrong decision, because I never learned that if you make a wrong decision it sometimes is not the end of the world.
---Trish9863 on 5/19/09

Trish...I, too, was NEVER allowed to make any decisions on my own until I moved out of my parents house. This included how I dressed and how I wore my hair as well as who my friends could me. When parents do not raise their children to make good decisions growing up, they often make the wrong ones when they are able to make their own decisions.
---SusieB on 5/19/09

Bruce: Totally agree with you about the post, and it's possible inferences. I try, don't always succeed, to take a posted question at literal face value.

As you stated, where parents and children are concerned, there is usually a mom said/kid said, and then the truth somewhere in the middle.

I also was speaking with my own experience as a daughter as a frame of reference. I was never allowed to make any decisions at all, and moved out at 18 years old, and never looked back. Making decisions was extremely hard for me to do for many years because of never having learned to do so.
---Trish9863 on 5/18/09


As you rightly point out, "the post says".

We know how difficult it is to present a response with a logical train of thought, within 125 words. I submit it is more difficult to do so when writing a question: and background is critical to an analysis of any problem.

Who knows the real situation? It could be that Allison is a spoiled brat and is just raggin' on mom (not that she is.) Can we be sure, "my mother told me that I was incapable of making these types of decisions until I'm 30", is an accurate statement? Could it be Allison's reaction?

I agree, in principle, with you. However, the application may or may not be apropos: and only more background can warrant such specific conclusions.
---BruceB on 5/18/09

SusieB .. You are quite right ... "If you live at home and your mother is supporting you and paying for your college, she has the right to set the rules at her house"

The important words are "at the house"

What you do outside the house is your choice, and she can only object if

You come home drunk
Behave badly at home
Come home drunk or pregnant
Don't pay her housekeeping
Don't do your share of keeping the house clean.
---alan8566_of_Uk on 5/18/09

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Go on the trip, have fun, and tell Mom respectfully that it's your choice to make.
OK now folks who know me know I have a hang up with the whole "boyfriend" thing. For your own good, obey God please.
---Pharisee on 5/17/09

Allison...You should make your own decisions if you are supporting yourself 100% financially. If you live at home and your mother is supporting you and paying for your college, she has the right to set the rules at her house. Waiting until 30 to start making decisions is a little late. As far as this vacation, you have not told us enough about it to make an educated opinion. What are the sleeping arrangements? Where are you going? If you do decide to go, where will you live when you get back if your mother doesn't let you come back home?
---SusieB on 5/17/09

Bruce: I agree that if a parent is paying the bills, there should be some level of input. However, the post says that Mom believes the young lady is incapable of making such decisions till she is 30. Being capable of making a decision is something that should be developed from a young age. Adolescence and young adulthood are the stages where developing emotional independence should be done. Mom should be encouraging that, not just setting an arbitrary age at which this young lady can start making decisions on her own.
---Trish9863 on 5/17/09


If she's paying the bills, she has a reasonable expectation of some degree of control over your life... unless she's handed you, say, $50 grand and said, "Have a good time." Then it's party time (figuratively speaking.)

I suspect, also, that she claims you as a "dependent" on her tax returns. The operative word is "dependent". The only way a child can be "independent" of any parent(s), is to leave home and pay their own bills. At that point you can say, "Mom, I pay the bills--I make the decisions." It does work, ya know.

Of course, if you're waitin' around until you're "30" to do this, you'll still be waitin' when you're 40, or 50, perhaps, even 75.
---BruceB on 5/17/09

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You are an adult, you should be making your own decisions. I am sure your Mother means well, but she can not live your life for you. I do agree that you should not go anywhere with your boyfriend where there is a better chance of getting into something that should only be shared between Married couples. And tho you may think you are strong, you may not be. But back the the question.. As long as it has nothing to do with your mother and college, I say its up to you and not her. I am a Mother of 7, so its not like I am talking about something I know nothing about, just so you know.
---a_friend on 5/17/09

It would be ridiculous for her to try to control you till you are 30 ... and it would cripple your development as a person.

As to this holiday,

You don't say how deep yuor relationship with him is, but if it is chaste, you might find he wants to use this holiday to push for it to become deeper ... and more dangerous. And it is possible that his parents would go along with that.

Take advice, including yuor mother's, pray, consider the possible problems... and make up your own mind.
---alan8566_of_UK on 5/17/09

You are perfectly capable of making such decisions. You should be making more and more such decisions on your own as you progress in college. By not encouraging you to make such decisions, your mom is keeping you emotionally dependent upon her.

Have a talk with Mom and assure her that you appreciate her concern for you, and that you are going to be making more decisions as you complete college.

My daughter was 24 when she got engaged and moved halfway across country to live.
---Trish9863 on 5/17/09

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