How to deal w/parents who won't let go?

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: How to deal w/parents who won't let go?
By Dawntreader (Dawntreader) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 10:50 pm: Edit

Hello, all you wise parents. Please give me some guidance - I really need it.
I'm a rising senior who's having a lot of trouble choosing a college because my parents don't want me to leave home. Whenever I suggest a school that isn't 20 minutes from home, their response is
1) you hate us, you don't care about us, you're ripping our hearts out...
2) you'll be miserable and come running home anyway
3) you'll become a drug addict or a liberal
But I'm not interested in the college they want me to attend. Furthermore, they don't like my career choice and if I live with them they will be telling me every day how inane and useless it is. How can I convince them that going away to college is the best choice for me without further hurting or angering them? (BTW, the issue isn't financial at all.)
Thanks for any advice...this is really tearing my family apart.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 10:55 pm: Edit

Until they say "you can't" or "we won't help pay for it", you'll have to (quietly) ignore their terror. Prove to them that you can succeed wherever you go.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 11:03 pm: Edit

What college are 20 minutes from home? Can you play on their desire to have you succeed by showing them stats for the colleges you won't to go to, vs. the one(?) 20 minutes away?

Of course, this won't work if you live in Boston.

By Dawntreader (Dawntreader) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 11:10 pm: Edit

University of Toledo and BGSU. Playing the stats game won't work - my mom went to UToledo and if I tried that they'd say "oh, you think you're too good, huh?"
So it's a really sensitive issue. I want to go to either OU or IU j-school, and would get a good scholarship to either, but they just don't want to let me go.
I'm now desperate and at a loss for words.

By Cruella (Cruella) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 12:21 am: Edit

Well, your parents clearly have to loosen the apron strings. Is there any reason that they are apprehensive? Have you given them reason to worry? If not, I would have someone intervene on your behalf. Perhaps a gradnparent could help them to see that keeping you TOO close to home isn't in your best interests.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 12:47 am: Edit

My parent's didn't want me to go so far away either. After I got in, (off the wait list in August :b lol) they said, "Well you can just find your own ride because we're not taking you."


And I was the oldest child of many!!

They thought I wouldn't be able to find the ride and I would give up. But I didn't. I found a ride. Then their big concern was how was I going to ride in a car for thirteen hours with a man I didn't know ? haha.

But The Man I Didn't Know (son of a very well known architect, as it happened) arrived on the designated day and I loaded up my old trunk (no luggage and no new clothes--further punishments)--and we drove away.

By (Freudian?) accident, I managed to lock them out of the house at five in the morning as a final parting gesture.

God Bless them, they were terrified and furious--but they never outright forbid my going...and I went. My mom flew to visit me about six weeks later.

Thirty years later I still love exotic destinations and they still miss me but we've all learned to accept one another.

I bet your parents will too.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:55 am: Edit

Can you ask them to go with you to visit some other schools, like perhaps Kenyon and Oberlin? OSU? Case Western? Not too far away--but far enough to help them see that there are programs available there that might not be available locally.

You could always decide you have to major in marine biology ;-)

By Deb92260 (Deb92260) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 06:23 am: Edit

You picked two great schools for journalism. Maybe you can point out that you would have a greater chance of finding a job with a degree from OU or Indiana. Apply and find out what kind of scholarship either would offer, I suspect that you might get a better offer from the in-state school, that might help them with letting go.

BTW, I see this all the time. Parents aren't ready for their kids to grow up. Try to act mature and I hope that they change their minds.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 07:22 am: Edit

I know everybody is going to be shocked by what I have to say, but may I recommend Michigan-Ann Arbor. It is merely 40 minutes away from Toledo and it is quite good. You also have Oberlin, Miami of Ohio, Case Western and several other decent schools within an hour or two drive from Toledo. Or is your intent to be as far away from home as possible? If your parents are not willing to have you go too far away, there are about 10 excellent universities not too far from home (within a 4 or 5 hour drive).

Case Western (Cleveland, OH)

Indiana University (Bloomington, IN)

Miami University (Oxford, OH)

Northwestern University (Chicago, IL)

Oberlin (Oberlin, OH)

Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN)

University of Chicago

University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)

University of Notre Dame (South Bend, IN)

By the way, the time estimates are usually overblown by about 20%. That is done to take stops or getting lost into consideration. So if it says that it takes 2 hours and 30 minutes to get somewhere, it really means that it takes 2 hours.

By April_Mom04 (April_Mom04) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 08:02 am: Edit

Being from Ohio, I understand completely what you are facing. My parents were the same, and I ended up taking a similar path as "Cheers". And absolutely NO regrets!

I would recommend that you invite an alumni over from your target schools to speak to your parents. Maybe they can convince them that the schools you are considering are reasonable choices for you to attend. Having a third party intervene can sometimes diffuse the situation. It sounds like your parents have had it in their minds for quite some time that you will be attending college locally, and changing their thought pattern is going to take some work.

Also - you might try "giving in" just a little. Tell them you'll be happy to apply to their choices, as long as you can apply to several choices you want. This will give them some hope, while you work on chipping away their doubts about your choices.

And if you can recognize the "guilt" trip that your parents are putting on you is just a method of control, it makes it easier to ignore.

BTW - You can find a local alumni through the admissions office - I'm sure they'll be glad to forward you contact information. And good luck - you'll need it!

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 08:20 am: Edit

I know a couple of students whose parents didn't want to let them go to the schools of their choice. The students used their money to apply, and also applied for merit aid, and got accepted and also got the money the needed to go.

Their parents pitched a fit, but the students were grown and could do what they wanted. At one's college graduation party, his father (who hadn't talked to the student for months after the student made his college decision) publically said he had made a mistake to try to send his son elsewhere.

That student, BTW, had been 17 when he was accepted to college, and had sent the college a letter letting them know he wasn't old enough to sign for himself, but if they waited a couple of months until his birthday, he would sign. The college allowed him to do that, including holding his full scholarship.

So... if you really do want to go far and you have good grades and scores, seek out colleges where you'd be in the top of the pool to get merit aid. You can't get need-based aid without your parents submitting paperwork, but for most merit aid, you don't need to file your parents tax records to be considered.

One last thing: Sometimes parents refuse to let students go far from home because the students are immature and irresponsible. I have seen some students complain about parents who do this, but at the same time I have seen such students grow up and flourish when they have to spend a couple of more years at home.

If your grades are iffy, if your parents have had to lean on you for you to be responsible and to get academics done, if you have run into disciplinary trouble then you probably aren't ready to leave home, and what your parents are suggesting is in your best interests.

By Bookworm (Bookworm) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 08:23 am: Edit

All the advice, to look for schools within an hour drive, are good. See if you can have parents visit schools with you, to reduce their defensiveness.
I met a man in his sixties, who was admitted to Harvard with full scholarship. His Mo refused to let him go. His HS principal came to their house, to no avail. He went locally, did well professionally, but always wonders 'what if..." He has NEVER forgiven his mother. Her desire to keep her only child close caused her to lose that which she wanted to hold close.

By Cangel (Cangel) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 08:28 am: Edit

I echo Cruella's observation - have you done anything to make them feel this way? Are they controlling to this degree in other aspects of your life?

Everyone's suggestions are good ones, especially the "apply to their choices and apply to yours" - that will defuse many loud wars during senior year.
Try all those tactics to get them one your side. Your final ace is if you get a scholarship, you may not need their support to go, and wherever you go, you can make it as far away as you want - just by how often you come home. Those are the "nuclear weapons" in this skirmish though, try "honey" and familiarity first. By the way, I'm a parent.

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