A judge recently granted an order of protection to a college student against her helicopter parents for such injustices as installing spy ware on her computer (that they bought for her) and arriving unannounced for visits to her dorm (which they have been paying for for three years). The student is being blasted by the public as a selfish brat.
As a person who has gotten a restraining order against her mother, albeit for very different reasons, I'm of two minds. One, money doesn't buy you love. Everyone knows that. It could be argued that my parents put braces on my teeth and paid for piano lessons when I was eleven, ergo, I was a well-provided for child and should be nothing but grateful. But as is usually the case, relationships come down to more than who paid for what. Being told you should never have been born and that no one loves you is not okay just because the person who said it paid for you to go to camp. In that regard, we don't know the relationship this student had with her parents or how damaging it really is. A judge and the University of Cincinnati sided with the student, so there's more here than just "my parents call me too much".
(Edited to add: It's hard for me to be perfectly frank with my feelings because I think one of my hang-ups is that I don't believe I deserve to grieve. So when I see someone in a similar situation that was hell for me, it's hard to block that voice of my parents in my head saying the parents were justified. So while I want to yell "just because someone is a parent doesn't mean they're not a psychopath" and "can the phrase, 'mother knows best' please die" my weird Stockholmey side causes me to bizarrely criticize the student. See my next statement . . .)
My other mind thinks this chick is crazy. Honey, they're paying your tuition! That is tens of thousands of dollars, if not $100k when all is said and done after four years. A HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS. Good God. No one ever paid that for me. They are providing you with things long after you turned 18, which they have no obligation to do and you have every right to refuse. Sure, it can feel a little claustrophobic to have someone asking if you're being "promiscuous" all the time, but I say if you are living off someone's bankroll well into adulthood, you answer to them. It's part of the deal. Shoot, if someone was providing years of my college expense so I could study "music theater" (smirk*) I'd set up the spy cam myself. Look, ma! Now I'm brushing my hair! Now I'm doodling "Mrs. Beiber" on my notebooks! Stop by any time!
Are you crazy, Aubrey Ireland? Get your degree and deal with your parents or make your own money and live life on your own terms. You don't get it both ways. And hello, they named you Aubrey Ireland and let you major in theater. There's got to be a cool bone in there somewhere.
Maybe the solution is we need to find a new way to figure financial aid. As it stands, a student needs to be legally independent in order to apply for financial aid based on his or her own income. Otherwise, parental income is considered and cases like this might be forced more and more in order for students to continue their education in distressed families. Or maybe college should be more affordable in the first place so parents don't go crazy monitoring their "investment" 24 hours a day.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got my paws to lick.
*Smirking because the arts are by all means valid to study, but an arts education isn't a great return on investment when it comes to majors. Raise your hand if you'd love to quit that day job of yours and study poetry. Just saying, it's quite a luxury to study theater as opposed to, say, nursing or accounting.
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Filed under: Court of Public Opinion