I'm 16, and I don't know what to do.

My parents are controlling everything I do and watching everything I do. I think I'm going insane. I thought a counselor or psychiatrist could help me but it hasn't helped.

I've made mistakes in the past (2 years ago) trying to date older guys (18 years) and now I tried to date a 20 year old. Now I'm completely over that but my parents won't let me talk to anyone anymore. They won't let me go anywhere anymore (never really did anyways) and I don't know what to do.

I have no one to talk to. They tell me it's my fault that I took that privilege of having friends away. They force me to go to church, I still go to counseling, but they're still keeping me from doing things and seeing people.

I've tried to get out, I've tried to see and talk to people but I always end up back in my house, alone. I've been clean, no drinking nor smoking, or anything and it seems that they don't care that I stopped. It's like they're forcing me to go back to who I used to be but I just can't go back, I mean, I am who I am, right?

I don't know what's real and what's not anymore... my parents keep telling me I'm not alone but I am. They're always at work and my brothers are too busy on the internet or playing on their game systems, and I have no other family to talk to because we never keep in touch.

I'm not trying to put my whole life on here but I'm just so confused about so much, and it seems as if no one can help me. All my friends were forced away, and some just stopped talking to me because my parents would freak out whenever we would talk or hangout.

They never let me stay at a friends house, or hangout with anyone because they're making bad choices, though my parents are also. I can't say anything to anyone or make a post about anything because my dad freaks out on me, and threatens to send me to juveniles... which people tell me he can't just send me without a reason but he always has a reason, even he'll come up with one.

I just have no one to talk to anymore... I feel like I can't talk to anyone or do anything because my parents are always behind my back watching me, I feel like I can't breathe. I would say more but if my dad ever finds this and I say anymore then I don't know what will happen, he'll probably send me back to juveniles for something... I'm scared to do or say anything... but I need something, hope, I dont know... just don't know what to do anymore...

  • 11
    Take a deep breath. Take another. Now, can you answer these questions, please? Your parents know you go to counselling, I suspect? Has it ever been brought up your parents come there for a family session? Also, and this REALLY depends on the church you go to: do you believe the Pastor/Priest whatever he is called in your community is trustworthy to keep a secret and/or help you? Is there a trustworthy counsellor at your school? What you seem to need is someone YOU can trust and your father can respect, but we need some additional information to find that someone.
    – Layna
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 7:58
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    Yes, my parents kniw i go to counseling,yes it has been brought up. Im not sure if i trust the pastor, as though i barely know him. I am seeing a trustworthy counselor at school every monday and friday. And its hard to find someone i trust and that my dad would respect because he only will respect someone i would trust, if thet person told my dad every single thing i told that person..
    – Joss
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 8:36
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    A couple of things stick out to me. You admit you've made mistakes and "It's like they're forcing me to go back to who I used to be...". Is there a chance you're leaving out some details? Is it possible you may have destroyed the trust that your parents once had and that's the root cause of your current issues? What would your parents say if they could present their side of the story? I'm a parent of a teenage daughter and unfortunately very familiar with the shenanigans, deceit, and drama. It's too easy to provide you with wrong information since we probably don't know all the facts.
    – Bob
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 22:45
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    Could you edit your question a little and add a timeline? (When this became an issue eg. "Since I am 16. It started two months ago...") This might be just temporary approach taken by your parents (they're out of options?). READ, educate yourself in times when you are not allowed to go out, visit library make friends there :)
    – Kyslik
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 8:29
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    @user2338816 Your point is valid but I don't think it does any good to judge her choice of boyfriends. She's already going through that with her parents and she doesn't need to deal with it here too. Let's just stick to offering insight into how her parents might be thinking and what they might be expecting of her so she can make a more informed decision about how to proceed.
    – aleppke
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 0:33

13 Answers 13


This is actually a pretty common problem. Basically, it boils down to you starting to stand on your own but your parents not liking some of the decisions you've made. They feel that you still need their guidance and protection and you feel that you don't. It's a struggle that pretty much everyone goes through at some point. Everyone's situation is different, though.

Ultimately, your parents likely want you to prove that you can be a mature and responsible adult. They don't think you're capable of it right now, which is why they're smothering you with all this protection. If you want your freedom without burning any bridges, you need to prove them wrong by showing them that you can be mature and responsible.

Aside from the family counselling that others have suggested, the best piece of advice I can give you is to get a job. I know it sounds cliche but I think it's exactly what you need. Not only is a job the kind of responsibility your parents are looking for and the kind of thing that prepares you for the future... yada yada yada... but it also provides you with a place where you can get away from home, make friends your parents might actually let you hang out with and chat/gossip/complain about life with people your own age without your parents around. These are all things that are important to maintain your emotional health and because it's a workplace environment, your parents aren't likely to deny it to you.

Personally, I went with pizza delivery guy when I was in high school. It gave me a valid reason why I needed my driver's license as well as regular driving practice. Between deliveries, I would do dishes and prep work with a couple other kids my age, creating friendships that I wouldn't have otherwise had. In fact, one of them became my roommate after graduation, making it easier for me to get out of my parents' house right after high school. I also lucked out in that my bosses were super nice and acted as sort of stand-in parents. I was able to talk to them about life stuff that I didn't feel comfortable talking to my own parents about and they gave me some pretty sound advice. Not all bosses will be like that but if you can find one who is, I think it would help tremendously.

And if nothing else, the money you earn can be saved so that you can move out as soon as you graduate.

  • 1
    I cannot think of any reason a reasonable parent would object to a teenager seeking to get a job. Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 16:20
  • @CodeswithHammer Depends on if they want you to spend less time making money and more time studying for future jobs, what the job is/people who work there (no naughty stuff here please) and a number of other factors that could come into play (distance, etc.) Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 23:42
  • @SimpleArt: Point noted. Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 13:03
  • It can also have completely irrational reasons: Parents who don't want the child to grow up because it makes them feel old or obsolete. Or it's simply a loss of control. Some parents grow addicted to controlling people and the weakest people to control are their children. It's usually a sign of uncertainty. They are not really mature themselves. Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 19:18

Going from your answers and with my gut-feeling:

Try to get your counsellor to REALLY push for some family-sessions. These are NOT for "you did this, so I did that" blaming, but hopefully for supervised LISTENING. Right now, the relationship to your father sounds deeply broken from both sides, and you both need help to understand each other again.

If your counsellor will not follow that wish, you should consider trying to find a new one, or perhaps even a full-scale psychiatrist. Your writing, to me, appears not only desperate, but panicked, and that may be a hint whatever and however you are working on with your counsellor fails to work; it may just be a bad match, it may also be he is just not fully qualified to find the core of your problem (if there is a mental health issue involved, diagnosis is important, if if not, being sure about THAT is good, too!)

Next, my best guess is your school counsellor: he has experience in dealing with parents, try to get his support, too. He may at least have some organisation you can turn to.

And, for now, the last bit: ask your counsellor or school counsellor to try to explain one thing to your father: It is their actual duty to keep certain things between them and you; that is the only way you can trust and fully open up to them! That is also the reason I asked about the pastor: they are authority-figures who sometimes have to keep things confidential except for very rare occasions. And while I am unwilling to judge your father, it sounds like he does need to learn one thing: having "secrets" is sometimes very very normal. It is called privacy, and VERY important to everyone.
(If you where less scared, I would almost suggest you start keeping track of when you go to the toilet and give him the records of that... may drive home the point that there are things he does not NEED to know...)

Addendum due to comments about the parents being right:
Yes, I do see the view of the parents as well. Which is exactly why I was looking for a third Party that could be approached: currently, direct, unassisted communication sounds almost impossible due to the pressure OP is under and the fear her parents feel for OP. Understanding between them will, hopefully, follow.
@OP: Just a personal word here: Yes, you messed up, but you work on getting back on track. Good for you, keep doing that!

  • Thank you, and yeah i actually have done the whole bathroom thing to him, still doesnt help but thank you
    – Joss
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 18:10
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    Just to expand on counselor confidentiality - in most jurisdictions, they are required by law to NOT disclose anything you say to anything to anyone else without your express consent except in the following cases: 1) To protect either you or the public from harm. For example, if you tell them you are contemplating suicide or hurting somebody, the counselor is required to report that to the appropriate authorities. 2) If there is domestic abuse currently going on. 3) If they are ordered by a court to do so.
    – aleppke
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 21:55
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    a religious figure, priest, pastor, minister...is not going to feel the same weight of legal responsibility to confidentiality. The likelihood is that the OP's church is just as authoritarian as the father is.
    – dwoz
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 1:46
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    You do realize the OP was a 14 year old who was drinking, smoking, and dating a 20 year old (which would be illegal if they had any intimate encounters). 14 typically is a freshmen or sophmore in highschool, while a 20 year old would typically be junior or senior in college -- ie. it's a very inappropriate relationship in itself due to the huge maturity differences in people of those ages. It's obvious and reasonable for the parents to react the way they did, and we shouldn't villianize them for it. The OP will understand one day..
    – SnakeDoc
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 16:21
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    @SnakeDoc I am aware OP apparently messed up in the past, yes, but also showing major steps to trying to change. I was in no way trying to villianize the parents, and am sorry if I appeared to do so. But currently the level of control, understandable or not, seems to hurt OP. And my feeling is that, to get out of that trap, outside help is needed... outside help OP can trust, so the changed can be based on honesty and not fear or panic.
    – Layna
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 9:27

First of great you took the step to counseling, you should continue your visits. But do not expect immediate results, this will likely be a slow process.

If I understand your situation somewhat you made some bad choices in (boy)friends and now your father doesn't trust any of your friends anymore. You need to show your father he can trust you again and this will be a long and difficult process so do not try to rush anything, change comes slowly.

When talking to your father, do not try to change his opinion, people don't work like that. Try to admit to what you did wrong (in his eyes) and most importantly why it is wrong (this really needs to come from you, try to be specific, don't just rephrase his arguments). Now an important note: when you cannot find a good reason why a specific thing was bad, tell him you accept it as wrong and then ask him to explain why it is wrong, then tell him you will consider what he told you. The important thing is to then calmly consider his arguments (from his side) when you are alone. You can discuss the ones you don't completely understand with your counselor, he should be able to help you understand them. If your father sees you act reasonable, admit mistakes and understand the why, he will change his opinion, but not by arguing (even not when done in a friendly maner). Such a way of communication will show you mature but isn't easy to learn, so prepare such talk before and have the preparations at hand when you talk, this will also help you not to go of topic into a (heated) discussion.

Now you mention you have brothers, I'm going to assume they are older or not younger than 14 (2 years). Having a good relation with them might just be a first step in having your father believe you are on a better path. Siblings generally tend to look out for each other and as a result could provide a trusted person your father would not deny you to see.

I understand you have difficulty connecting with them because they are constantly playing games or on their computers. One way you could try to relate to them is to try to play a game together, sure you may not enjoy the game itself but that was not the point remember. Try to see the game like you would a sleepover (or whatever you like doing with your friends), it is the social part that is fun (laying awake in bed is not that great).

Another possible approach could be to try to make some friends at church, your father will likely approve of them. From there you can start gaining your privileges back. Now I can understand you might see those teenagers as "lame" and whatnot but it is very likely there are some of them that are in a similar situation as you are, being smothered by somewhat overprotective parents. They might seem "lame" but how can you know before you try to be friends. And hey they might never become your best friends but one bird in the hand is better than ten in the air remember.

As a final point, and I understand this will be very hard, if you want to convince your father you changed, do not try to push him by regularly asking if you can meet your old friends (even the "good" ones) again. It might make him discard all your progress up until then as "fake", aka "faking to get back in good grace". Yes you might lose some of those friends but as it stands you must realize they can not help you at the moment, maybe when you regain enough privileges (thrust of your father) you can get back in touch but do not drop the friends you made to regain the thrust of your father or you will lose that thrust very soon.

  • 1
    +1 for looking to get involved with church friends. If your parents are religious then they are likely going to trust any friends you make within the church over anyone who they know nothing about. Is your church large enough to have a youth group? Maybe they have activities that would be fun for you, but if nothing else it will help convince your parents that you are sincere about choosing better relationships. Also +1 for the idea of playing games with your siblings. That might open the door to a better relationship with them. Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 19:54

This answer is somewhat in vein of @user1450877, but more specific.

As others noted, the main problem is that your parents don't trust your judgement. In a superficial way, it's a situation similar to someone with a poor credit history, and the solution is similar as well.

As a parent, the only way to regain that trust is to tangibly demonstrate a consistent, persistent pattern of changed judgement.

The catch-22 is of course that to show judgement on something important, you need to be trusted enough to make an independent choice on that important thing. So, what you do, is you work with your parents to build up to that.

  • First, have an honest talk to them. Come prepared.

    • Don't accuse them of being wrong or hurting you. That gets you absolutely nowhere.

    • Acknowledge that the situation you are in is wholly a result of your poor judgement. Prepare a full list of bad decisions you made. In detail. Ideally, if it happened, include things they do NOT know about - it may lose you a couple of points on their anger for earlier lying, BUT long term will win you a lot of points on honesty and openness. For each of the bad decisions:

      1. List the reason you made that decision

      2. list the negative consequences of that decision.

        • List BOTH the actual negative consequences that happened ...

        • ... AND - importantly - the possible risks that could have arisen but didn't happen (through sheer dumb luck for you, or because the consequences are long-term. Examples of the latter are health risks from smoking, or risks of being labeled an easy-lay among your peers - which will prevent the kind of guys your parents want you to be with from being interested with you.)

      3. List what steps you COULD and/or SHOULD have taken back then to have avoided a bad decision.

      4. As them, for each one, if they agree with everything you said, or have anything to add. ALL of feedback, write it down, do NOT dispute even if you disagree, and think about.

    • Explicitly mention that you have learned from this whole history, grew up mentally and emotionally, and would like a chance to work to regain that trust you lost.

    • Bring and propose your own list of things/steps you think you can do to show them your judgement can be trusted. Deliberately, make it start at low bars (e.g. situations/decisions that - should you err - have less risk or downside). For each one of them, lay out - in the words of bad managers at work - measurable objectives (e.g., what outcomes would show you made the right decision vs. wrong).

      This step is very important. As my ex-boss put it once, don't come to me with the problem. Come to me with the solution. Your proposal does not need (and probably won't be) perfect - see the next step. BUT, the fact that you put thought into it is an extra benefit to show both your maturity and your goodwill to work WITH them.

      As an added boost, an extra free advice - you can use this very site to help you make the list of ideas. Ask a specific question about a specific issue (for example "I have a history of dating bad boys. What can I do to prove to my parents I am able to choose a good boy and reject a bad one according to their preferences")

    • Ask the parents for what in THEIR opinion would be good approaches for what you (you personally and you as a family) can do to help you regain that trust and demonstrate judgement. As with previous feedback, concentrate on writing it down and not arguing about it.

    • Also - perhaps at the beginning, or at the end - explain to them the reasons for doing this. Some reasons are more mature than others. Do NOT lie, and list reasons that you find in this answer below, if you don't honestly believe in it. Parents know when their kids BS them (we do, trust me :)

      • To be able to date again? (my honest opinion: the weakest reason. But honest)

      • To have them be proud of you? (I know it was a big deal to me all my life to have parents proud of me. More motivation than any threat of punishment, since I was young)

      • (this one is less obvious but I hope you'll agree it's a good point): You will be an adult soon, and outside their control. For your own benefit, it's a good idea that you learn and train good judgement NOW, while they are around to tutor you. This actually goes as TWO benefits:

      • For THEM, they would gain ease of mind once you are on your own. This should be a good incentive for them to be welcoming to your attempt to do this.

      • You get better life outcome, both from training up your judgement, AND from learning how to work in adversarial situation. Trust me, if you pull this off, 99% of difficult situations in work and in life would seem much easier for you.

      • You get a confidence boost, once you succeed. Trust in your own judgement and in your maturity.

  • Second, you compile your ideas AND their feedback from the first talk, and try and negotiate a plan that would satisfy them. Remember, you have much to win if this works - so, try not to let your pride or stubborness lead you to more conflict if you have some disagreements. You CAN honestly negotiate over some issues, if you can explain why a certain point is a bad idea in your mind.

  • Also, ask them if they would be open to accepting your feedback on what your wishes and goals are.

    You mentioned that you suffer from lack of friends. So specifically, note that, and ask if they would be OK working with you to reach that goal and what they would need to be OK with it. Maybe they would want to pick a friend for you. Maybe just to vet. Maybe control where you are with that friend (up to and including, in the beginning, seeing 100% of correspondence and meeting chaperoned only).

  • Last, you follow your plan. Step by step. It may take 2 years. Or less.


It is hard to say what is best to do without knowing more information, but I'll share my thoughts based on what you said.

I can't know what caused your parents to act the way they do, but it does not seem like a supportive environment for you now. If the situation is not downright abusive though (are you physically in danger?), I wouldn't suggest doing anything drastic about it like escalating confrontation or leaving home.

Instead, try to focus on yourself. Firstly, having friends to talk to always helps, and if your parents control what you physically do outside of school you can still talk with people online (being a member of online communities did help me during rough times). If you have a way to communicate privately (either while parents are at work or from your phone), use it to keep in touch with your friends. This is especially important if you feel like you're losing it. Keep contact with someone who will be your anchor to reality. If it means finding new friends, do it. Start an activity that will keep you away from home and in touch with new people (any hobby, classes, training, something...)

Secondly, start to seriously work on your own life. At the risk of sounding cheesy, you are 16, your life has just begun and you have plenty to look forward to. Things may look bad now, but keep in mind that this is only temporary. Unfortunately, we don't get to choose our own family, but we do get to choose what we do with our own lives.

I can't judge your family, they are who they are and they have their reasons. They probably love you even if they act (imho) completely wrong about it. However, it is not your responsibility to "fix" them, and what you describe is not a healthy atmosphere for you. It is time to think about your future.

So, what do I mean? You're 16. Soon you'll either go to Uni or start working. Whichever your choice is (and it is your choice), start preparing for it now. You don't know if things will get better or worse at home, but you can put in effort into increasing your options once you're 18. Work on making it possible for you to create your own life at that point. Probably getting some money prepared would also be a good idea, so taking some part-time job now would be useful (and could be of benefit to you in the sense of spending less time at home, which is a good thing considering the toxic atmosphere you describe).

You probably can't change your parents, but you can go towards a future in which you are no longer dependent on them. Keep in mind that that future is not too far, and that you have the power to do it!

Stay strong, think of the day you are your own boss, but don't hesitate to ask for help if you feel like things are too hard. Everyone needs help at hard times.

  • 2
    This, too, thank you. Especially the "Everyone needs help at hard times." Needing that help too often makes people feel weak and ashamed...
    – Layna
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 11:57

The problem is they don't trust your judgement. Maybe they have a reason to, as in trying to protect you from older men, or maybe they are just over protective but it comes from a place of love. They just want what is best for you .

The best way to change things is to talk to them. Ask them what their fears are, why they don't trust you and what you can do to change that. Then work with them to change their perception of you and earn the trust that will give you more freedom.

I doubt it will happen over night, it usually takes a lot of small steps over a long period of time to earn someone's trust, especially if you did something to lose it in the first place. Also be honest with yourself, did you truly do nothing at all to end up in the situation you are in ?

  • 3
    While I agree with your way of solving things, it is not really helpful to find who is to blame for the situation. The situation is what it is, the OP is asking for a way to deal with it, and it's probably hard enough without pondering over what her share of guilt in the whole story is, if any.
    – quetzy
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 15:19
  • 2
    @quetzy I think it is important because it is the first step in stopping it from happening again. Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 15:28
  • 8
    @ Quetzy - the problem with that is, the OP is assigning blame, 100% of it to the parents. I think the OP needs to accept that there is a small chance that the parents actually love their daughter, and are genuinely trying to prevent her from a (fairly reasonable) fear that they will end up an addict, on the streets, in jail, or worse.
    – Scott
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 21:18
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    @Joss what i said turns that attitude around on them. You are asking them what they think, what their fears are and are asking what they think you can do to earn their trust. Unless they have personality disorders then their behavior is motivated by fear. They fear harm will come to you and they cannot bear that because they love you. If they say there is nothing you can ever do to earn their trust then emancipate yourself because they are crazy but I think they will give you a way to earn their trust and get some, not all, of the things you want. Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 22:54
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    @Erica very clearly the OP has made some choices, dating 18 year old while she was 14, that would cause the parents to doubt her capacity for making good choices. They need to trust her but also she must be able to be trusted. Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 22:57

When I was a teenager, my parents had one unbreakable rule. At any given time they had to know where I was, who I was with, and when I would be home. If any of those things changed, I had to call.

This seemed unfair to me until my parents pointed out they voluntarily do this for each other. It's a natural part of engendering trust, and if anything should happen and I didn't come home, it gives them a starting place to search. After that, I happily complied. It seemed like a small sacrifice for the amount of freedom and trust it gave me.

My sisters rebelled against that rule and were never trusted. They asked me how I "got away with so much" and all I could tell them was I called when I was supposed to call. It was so simple they didn't believe me. Far from being controlled, I was making my own decisions, just telling my parents what those decisions were once or twice an evening.

My advice to you if you want to be trusted is to volunteer information. When you make a new friend, tell your parents before they have to ask. If you get a bad grade, tell them about it before they hear about it from the teacher. If something good happens, tell them about it before they hear from another source. If your parents don't trust you go out, invite a friend to your house when your parents are there. Don't act like you're trying to hide something, and soon enough your parents will believe it.

  • 2
    I'm sorry. but I think this approach relies on you willing to do it. You cannot force someone to voluntarily give up their privacy. My sisters rebelled against that rule and were never trusted. That's the worse part, when you condemn someone just because they do not want to be like you.
    – Cthulhu
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 8:36
  • 3
    Don't act like you're trying to hide something Oh come on, everybody hides something.
    – Cthulhu
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 8:39

I'm posting this as a second answer, since you seem to have asked 2 questions in one. My other answer deals with answering "how do I improve this situation?"

This one answers another one, although it was clarified in comments more than a question: you have a problem with your dad knowing everything you do.

The answer to that is, is there a major reason for your dad to be kept in the dark about certain things?

  • Is it because him knowing some things, he will prohibit them for a good reason? (if so, you shouldn't be doing it).

  • Is it because some things simply embarrass you? (if so, you will just have to learn to be embarrassed. It sucks, but you brought that on yourself with past behavior. And trust me, it could be - and will be - worse. Do you think they would let you have privacy in Juvie? Or when you grow up, at work?)

  • Is it because some things he would prohibit for no good reason? And if you think so, did you ask him what his reason would be?

All in all, the main thing you should get out of this is, that there is a very good reason for him to want to know every detail about you - AND, at the same time, virtually no good reasons for you to want him to NOT know things (unless you omitted some critical information in what you asked).

If you accept that, you would eliminate the main problem you have at fixing the situation: the fact that your main goal seems to be a completely useless one, that of keeping things from your father. The goal should be to regain his trust ("how" is covered in my second answer), and to clean up your act and show him you have.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Acire
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 16:00

16 is a difficult time for everybody, and most of the time parents are right and teenagers are wrong. Some parents are overprotecting, but is still love not hate. The problem is that teens only realize and accept that when they are 25+. We grow up with the self centered impression that parents have no idea and they are against us, but, as cold as it may seem, this is only hormones talking. Your parents love you and have MUCH more common sense and life experience so you should listen to them. You will probably won't but this is how life goes. Still you don't want war with your parents that raised you so far, and you will only know later how difficult it was for them.

So my advices are:

  • accept and live with the situation, and think that maybe they are right
  • OR still accept the situation for a while until you can become independent and do whatever you like

You cannot get out - but you can still access the internet. Problem with internet is that it is not easy to find out who is real friend and who is con. Aim for communities where members are graded by some kind of "karma" like on this forum.

I highly recommend to look at free online course "science of happiness".


It could be deep link (I am logged in to the course), so you can find it by going to edx.org, then searching for "happiness".

edX.org - which is non-profit (free) online university started by MIT and Harvard, now hosting online classes for many other universities. This one is from Berkeley Uni.

You will learn short mind exercises to improve your happiness, and you can join online communities of people from the course who are learning how the happiness work. You will learn how different relationships between parent and child work, and much more.

If you can get job as @aleppke suggested, get it. Likely, your parents will be against (because your father will lose some control over your life he craves).

If you cannot get a job, try to get seriously into any fitness program or a sport, whichever your parents approve. Physical exercise makes us humans happy ("runner's high" was important evolutionary advantage for stone age hunters). Use it for your benefit.

Study as much as you can. Good grades will allow you to go to the college, bad grades will prevent you to gain such freedom.

2 years seems like a long time but in reality it is not. Just hundred weeks. Life will get better soon.


This situation is, at least as you've described it without knowing more details, unfair to you (as you imply but don't directly state). However, many many things that will happen to you in your life will be unfair. Perhaps even grossly so. One thing to remember is that its up to you how to deal with it: its only wasted time if you fail to make the best of it. You could use the time to learn a subject very deeply, become super-fit, practice a sport, etc. It may not be what you want to do (and was not what I chose to do at 16), but sometimes you do the best you can with the cards you're dealt. Think about it this way: what if you'd grown up in a war zone? Unable to meet with friends because of the physical risk of being shot/blown up? How would you deal with it?

As far as the answers that tell you to hang in there because it will be over in 2 years, I can totally see how that would be less than satisfying: at 16 you don't have the same view of time as a 35 year old. Although it will certainly end and there is a light at the end of the tunnel, its a ways off yet (from your current perspective, you'll barely remember it in 10 years). So I recommend focusing on what you can do right now to make the best of an unfortunate situation. Books can serve in lieu of friends for a time, at least a bit.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received is that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Your parents have at least a subconscious understanding of that and don't trust you to pick those 5 people well (and maybe they shouldn't). They seem to be overreacting, but there's another important point.

For a long time, I was decidedly an under-achiever in just about every possible respect. One thing I noticed as I became successful in life (by just about any measure of success) is that my family's opinion of me was very much a trailing indicator: after years of being, frankly, a bit of a loser, it took a few years of steady successes before I started getting any real credit. And you know what? I don't think they were wrong to doubt at first.

So if you've cleaned up your life and are now making better choices, you need to be patient: it may take a couple of years (yes years) for the people who cared about you and watched you make bad choices to really start to believe the change. Its not hopeless at all. But always remember: make those better choices because they're better choices. Making them because you're seeking external validation takes too long to pay off.


I may have painted it as being too black-and-white, one thing to try also would be saying "Hey Mom and Dad, I've got a wicked case of cabin fever, but I understand if you don't want to just turn me loose on the town for whatever. Is there something constructive I could do so I don't loose my mind? Like try out for a play/sports team/take up ballet/whatever?".

I bet they'll be receptive if you sell it right, especially if they have some say in what you end up doing. And it may be good for you to have a constructive pastime as well.


I know it has been more than a year since you asked this question, but there is an import idea that was not really mentioned in any of the answer.

When I read this question, it seems like you are incredibly lonely. Not only because you mentioned it in two paragraphs, but the tone of the writing seems sad and lonely. I am not surprise that when you found some older men who were willing to give you companionship, that you jumped at the opportunity. It is only natural for most humans to engage with others.

I'm not sure if you did and drugs drinking or smoking etc., but I think it is also completely obvious why a lonely teenager would enjoy these activities - because they are pleasurable.

Being trapped in loneliness feels horrible. Even worse is you told their parents and they did not listen. That absolutely sucks. I am very sorry.

I think it is important to focus on timing; do you want to solve the problem for a few months here and there, and have a long lonely life? Or have a lonely life at the start, and learn how to build good strong relationships, so that you can have very good companionship?

I suggest that college is very fun; and there are a million opportunities to have fun and build strong relationships. After college, if you have a reasonable career and a reasonable income, you can have a ton of independence to decide whom you will have in your life, and what you will do for fun.

On the other hand, if you get pregnant (assuming you are female), or destroy your mind with drug use (hope you are not doing this), the odds are very good that you will end up stuck in your parents house for another 20 years. And if you don't get pregnant, but don't do well in school, you will have big problems building an income and independence. Also stuck with your parents.

If you are male, and the loneliness stems from your parents forcing you to be heterosexual when you are not, please refer to Dan Savages "It gets better campaign" which is essentially the same message - just hold on a couple of years, then you will find freedom and happiness.

For all genders, it is also possible that you will try to escape your family by moving in with one of your older boyfriends. Be very wary of this; they are the type of adults that are attracted to very young adults. Do you think they will stay with you when you are 25?

When I was 15, even when I was 25, I was unaware of the ability of people older than me to manipulate me. I think that a person 5 years older than you can see that you are lonely, and for non-altruistic reason, manipluate that lonliness to further their own needs. Older people are quite able to manipulate those younger than them. This is the reason that Dan Savage invented the Campsite Rule; because manipulation and abuse is actually quite common in relationships with large age gaps. And 15 to 20 is about the largest age gap there is; much wider than when a 25 year old dates a 40 year old.

The critical thing is to work on building a good life for yourself. I know it sounds crappy, but learn stuff in school, learn to exercise and eat well (CSA?), and find a hobby (CSA?) or a job. If you have been able to avoid it so far, continue to avoid alcohol until you are at least 20 and drugs until you are at least 25 or 30.


I agree with most of the other answers. But I would like to stress the rights you have.


Be aware that your parents cannot force you to do anything. They cannot imprison you. You want to run away? They cannot prevent it. You don't want to go to school, don't want to eat, don't want to live at home? Nobody in the world can force you. Your father probably is stronger than you and can physically force you a limited number of times to do something you don't want to do but in the end you are and remain a free person. That's very important to understand: You are a free person. Even at 16. I know, it doesn't feel like it. But understand the power you have. That's exciting and frightening at the same time, because you forge your own destiny. That's huge. And then go from there.

  • For those who do NOT live in fantasy worlds, I would recommend reading on the difference between legal rights of a child and adult as well as what is involved in being legally "free" of one's parents (legal term is "emancipation" here and here
    – user3143
    Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 14:43
  • @user3143 My opinion was not a legal one. Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 19:16

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