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I am 19 years old, and am currently in a relationship.

My parents can't seem to understand the fact that I am now old enough to make my own decisions and to know right from wrong, that I have the ability to care for myself.

Recently, my parents want to control my every move my relationship; they will not let me go out unless I ask them for permission, I have a certain time I have to be home, they are constantly checking up on me, and because of this, now it has been almost a week that I have been unable to see my boyfriend.

It seems like talking to my parents would help. Thing is, it seems like everytime I talk to my parents, we just have bigger arguments each and every time.

My boyfriend is getting as tired of the situation, just like I am. He has talked me into maybe moving into his parent's house. I feel it is a bit too early to take that step in the relationship. But, I don't see another way of solving this.

Any advice would help.

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    Some more context wood be helpful. What's the legal age where you live? (Here, you're considered an adult when you turn 18.) Is there any strong relevant cultural background (religious or otherwise)? Do you have older siblings who faced this? – sbi Dec 21 '14 at 11:59
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    Also, your economical situation might be a factor - if you earn your own money you are in a different position than being dpendant on your parents. We don't need your bank statement ;-), just a general idea to help us find an answer. – Stephie Dec 21 '14 at 13:16
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    Mentioning to your parents that Boyfriend has proposed moving in, and while you think it's too soon you don't seem to have a reasonable alternative if you want to see him, may help adjust their perspective. They have the right to make rules (e.g. curfew) while you live in their house, but they also should realize that you're growing up and their attempt to dictate your behavior has the potential to backfire and instead lose your trust in them. – Acire Dec 21 '14 at 16:17
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    If you live with your parents they are entitled to set any house rules they want. But I would suggest to you that they are motivated by love and not spite. Ask them directly if they have a problem with the relationship and if they do then ask for specific things that they object to. It could be that your judgement is being clouded by your feelings and your parents might be doing what is best for you. – user1450877 Dec 22 '14 at 15:02
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This is a tough situation and as mentioned in comments definitely needs more context for better answers but I will say that the talking barrier is massive because ultimately the main thing right now is not just they need to understand you, its you need to understand them,

  • Why are they so afraid of you spending time away
  • Why have they become more controlling?
  • Why don't they trust your judgement

If you can get past the arguments and really, truly listen to their objections and try and understand them, then you can ask the same of them and give your reply. Or perhaps there is something your missing like they think this boy is genuinely dangerous.

If you are really trying to listen to them and they are not being very forth coming then you need to plan out the way you are going to communicate. Some potential ideas:

  • bring in a third party, a teacher, a relative, that can help mediate the discussion and make sure everyone talks to each other properly.
  • The "talking object" where only the person holding the object (e.g. cushion) can speak and everyone takes it in turns to hold the object and be heard.

As well as asking them hard, exploring questions you need to be ready to ask yourself (and be asked) hard exploring questions:

  • Is your boyfriend more controlling then you realise and you are actually about to go from one controlling relationship to another?
  • Has he got into your head and turned your you against your parents?

Finally it could be that your parent is a psychologically a controlling parent and hopefully that article will be of use to you. As I mentioned above though, this is where more context on your parents and social standing would help

I would also say ultimately you have to do everything you can to keep and mend the relationship with your parents over the relationship with your boyfriend.

Basically its important you get to the point where you can be an individual and hopefully your parents would be part of that individuals'(i.e you) life

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Couple of things.

  1. You said

    my parents want to control my every move my relationship; they will not let me go out unless I ask them for permission, I have a certain time I have to be home, they are constantly checking up on me, and because of this, now it has been almost a week that I have been unable to see my boyfriend.

    First of all, as someone who both was a late-teenager, AND a parent, what you described (a) seems quite reasonable on the surface, at least assuming they are reasonable about giving permission absent valid reasons not to.

    Of course, there are degrees (are they not giving permission - with no valid reason - more than once a month, and check up on you every 10 minutes? Or is it more reasonable than that? Do they give realistic reasons for not giving permission or simply say "because I said so"? You need to clarify in your question).


  2. You stated

    I am now old enough to make my own decisions and to know right from wrong, that I have the ability to care for myself.

    Mostly, it is not about age (I met plenty of useless imbeciles with no sense or ability who couldn't take care of themselves at 30; and wise and self sufficient 15 year olds), but about demonstrated judgement and maturity.

    I'll touch on that below, but you need to start out not with "I'm old enough to know right from wrong", but with "Here are situations where I needed to know right from wrong before, and here's the proof that I chose right in them" and "here's how I cared for myself". Can you provide those examples to your parents? That would be the best approach.


  3. Your're operating on the assumption that you are right and your parents are wrong. While there's not enough information here to know if that's the case, you need to VERY strongly consider that they indeed are right. Or at least they are not as wrong as you assume in your drive to assert your independence. Some of the reasons may be:

    • Research shows that humans who are infatuated with a romantic mate, especially in early stages of relationship, tend to have an incredibly strong positive bias in evaluating that person. In other words, science (not your parents) says that you're basically blind to your bf's negative sides, pitfalls, and blemishes. That's how humans are wired.

    • You're operating under multiple other biases (sunk cost, blindness to opportunity costs, etc...). Again, no escape being human. Additionally, if this is your first serious relationship, you may be too concerned with losing it and feeling like you'll never find another bf, even if the current one isn't quite good enough (assuming he isn't).

    • Your parents have a lot more experience than you. You may not yet have encountered men who'd lie and say pretty much anything in an astonishingly convincing way (people with ASPD - aka sociopths - are ~1-3% of population). They might have. Or, to use an old saw, your father "doesn't want you to date someone like who HE was at 19" :)

    • You're at an age where modern western youths sadly don't yet have any clue how to think long term. It's just not something that the culture emphasized in the last 50 years. You personally may be mature enough to be able to consider if that BF and relationship is something a 25 or 30 year old you would say "thanks" to the 19 year old you... but the chances are you're not there yet, especially if that's an angle you didn't ask yourself before you read this answer.


  4. As far as how you can proceed, there's just not enough information in your question, and it's quite likely not enough information that YOU have.

    As such, as with any conflict situation, the first step is to try and figure out what the starting position and the reasoning of the other party is.

    You need to figure out - honestly - with yourself, and then ask your parents (not discuss... just ASK, and listen to an answer without arguing, even if you disagree or are hurt by what you hear):

    1. Are there specific issues they see that makes them wish for more control?

      • Could it be that you're doing potentially dangerous things? (going to clubs, doing drugs, doing unsafe sex, whatever). See #2 below.

      • Could it be that they were spooked by something about your boyfriend (see #3 below)

      • Could it be that your lifestyle changed for the worse when dating (in general, or that bf)? Are you neglectful of your chores? Are you neglectful of your studies and/or job (or searching for one)? Are you doing things they find questionable (inappropriate clothing? drugs? party lifestyle?)

    2. What reasons to they have to trust your judgement?

      • It could be that you exhibited poor judgement before, at least in their eyes.

      • It could be one of them exibited poor judgement at your age and now are projecting.

      • It could be they simply don't have a reason to trust your judgement yet and are opting for a safer "no" approach. This one is optimal as it opens a way to negotiate steps to let them trust you.

      By the way, while I'm loathe to sound judgmental, I must admit that the fact that you are seriously considering moving out of your parents and in with your BF simply because you couldn't see him for a week, once sounds to me like EXACTLY the sort of immaturity and lack of sound judgement that would be a very valid reason for them to need to control you and question your judgement and maturity.

    3. Are there specific issues they see with the current bf?

      • Is it something about him?

      • Is it something about his behavior?

      • Is it something that changed in your behavior while you dated?

      • Is it the fact that you and him are intimate and the parents don't yet want to be grandparents?

      • Is it simply that they don't want you to date?

Once you get the answers to those 3 questions from them (and honest self-evaluation), you can refine your question to "How can I address the issue given what I learned".

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    Your answer is really great. – Aquarius_Girl Oct 8 '15 at 8:49
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    +1 for "the fact that you are seriously considering moving out of your parents and in with your BF simply because you couldn't see him for a week, once sounds to me like EXACTLY the sort of immaturity and lack of sound judgement that would be a very valid reason for them to need to control you and question your judgement and maturity." I'm glad you said this. Moving into your boyfriend's parents' house because you're on restriction is not at all an adult move, and the fact that this is being considered at all, either by OP or by her BF, is a huge red flag. OP still has growing up to do. – Ben I. Apr 6 '18 at 19:10
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When I lived at home, my parents asked three questions whenever I went out: where was I going, who would I be with, when would I be back? If they were uncomfortable with one of the answers, we would negotiate. If the plans changed, I was supposed to call.

I hated those rules, until my parents pointed out one thing: they voluntarily gave that information to each other when they went out. It wasn't a controlling thing so much as a courteous help us not to worry thing. After that realization, I gladly provided the information, and I was amazed at how much freedom and trust it afforded me. My siblings continued to chafe at the rules, which engendered restrictions and distrust, and to this day they are jealous of how much I was able to do.

In other words, if you want your parents to treat you like a responsible adult, then play the part. Don't give them any cause for concern. Don't give them any room for argument. It's very difficult for a parent to argue with a statement like:

My homework's done, and we planned a double date to see The Hobbit at the Regal tonight. It's kind of a long movie and the people we're doubling with live over on the other side of the University, so I might be a half hour late, but my first class isn't until 10 tomorrow, so I should still get enough sleep. Should I knock on your bedroom door to let you know when I get in?

Is it embarrassing to be "asking for permission" when you're old enough to get your own place? A little. However, if you do it right, it will soon feel like just two adults discussing their day. It's really a small price to pay for the freedom and trust you are asking for.

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You can get them a tracking device.

They will know where you are without knowing what you do. It's a WIN-WIN solution. If they see you are with your boyfriend or somewhere in a safe place, it will give them peace of mind.

This is what I'm planning to do with my daughters. I don't care what they do when they are adults as long as they are in a safe place... I mean if they agree, I guess. But I will convince them, lol.

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    This doesn't really answer the OP's question. It suggests (in a link) a tracking device. – anongoodnurse Dec 31 '14 at 21:40
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    It sounds like a plausible idea, if the parents are concerned for safety, a tracking device would plausibly assuage their fears. – March Ho Jan 1 '15 at 12:14
  • @anongoodnurse - 'Any advice would help.' I think it's too later fix whatever causes the issue. She is all grown up and parents won't change! All the theoretical answers people post here is just theoretical, trust me! – Grasper Jan 2 '15 at 14:55

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