Dear Harlan: My parents are always suspecting me of doing the wrong thing. I’m 16 years old and have always gotten good grades and do the right thing. I don’t drink. I don’t do drugs. My friends follow the rules. All this doesn’t matter. They still make me call and text and check in and check up on me. They’ll track where I’m going with my friends. They are controlling to the point of making me question myself. I have asked them why they are so controlling. They remind me that I’m a child and they are the parents. They make the rules. I need to follow them. Should I just do all the things they’re afraid of me doing? At least then I could give them a good reason to control me and track my every move. Help me!
Dear Innocent: Hurting yourself to hurt your parents doesn’t work. It just leaves you hurting. Plus, it makes you look like a child. Save your time and energy. Appreciate that your parents’ control issues have NOTHING to do with you. This is about their own fears and insecurities. They’re trying to protect you, but they’re smothering you and making you question yourself. Here’s what will happen in the next two years: Either your parents will change or you’ll get older and your situation will change. You only have two years left at home. Then you can leave for college or get a job and move out. Be patient. Tolerate them and their rules. Let your consistent responsible behavior show them what you already know. If you want to force them to change their ways, you can always get a part-time job or leadership position at school that will force them to give you more independence. In the meantime, find someone to talk to about their ridiculous rules. When you find yourself frustrated, remind yourself that you’re almost an adult. Soon, this will change. You’re so close.