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How to Gain Your Freedom from Overprotective Parents

Updated on December 28, 2013

If you have overprotective parents, you'll be familiar with the fight that comes with wanting to go out of the house or hanging out with friends. Depending on how overprotective they are (there's definitely different levels), you may or may not be in for a real fight, even if you're just wanting to go out to see a movie with a bunch of friends.

For me, my mom was always super-protective-how-dare-you-want-to-go-out-you-must-hate-me, while my dad encouraged me to go out. When I was younger I couldn't stand against my mom, so I grew up never hanging out with friends or leaving the house. Throughout elementary school and middle school whenever someone asked if I wanted to do something with them, I would ask my mom and eventually be guilted into not going. After that, I stopped trying and my friends stopped asking if I could do something (as I never could).


Keep in Mind...

...the end goal in mind before confrontation. It will help you stand your ground.

Prepare Yourself and Your Resolve

If you've reached the point where you are tired of not being able to go out with friends, or you want more freedom for yourself, the first thing you need to do is ready your mind. This is crucial. The first time you make your stand against your parent(s), you'll have to fight against caving in.

For me, this didn't happen until my third year of college or so. Yes, I know that is a very, very long time. I regret not going to any of my high school dances. Although to be honest, I wasn't too interested in dancing and I was super self conscious and rarely said a word to anyone throughout high school. I did however, really want to go to the party after prom, but my mom somehow ended up guilt-ing me into not going. I ended up crying and just thinking "fine, I didn't want to go anyway."

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • If you're parents know your friends/who you'll be hanging out with, they'll be more likely to say yes.
  • Don't push too far, too fast. Take is slow.
  • If they say no right away, try bartering with how good you're doing at school and how you'll be back before a certain time.
  • Keep in touch with your parents and let them know you're okay when you're out. (It's annoying, but a small sacrifice)

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How to Make Your Stand

Before even confronting your parent(s), keep your end goal in mind. If it's to go out with friends to a movie, don't let them win right away. It's okay if you don't get what you want at first. Try to barter and keep it at a level that they will be comfortable with.

If your parents don't want you hanging around with the opposite sex (which is another issue, but relevant), assure them that there will be a lot of people going. If they don't like you being out past a certain hour, see a movie and be back before that time. After a while, you can start asking for more. They will get more comfortable with you leaving the house. Just give them what they want somewhat (like a text message when you get there) and don't push too far too quickly.

Honestly, it's a lot like taking baby steps. Don't expect them to be okay with you having a serious date and not coming home until 1am the first time you ask. Let them build their trust in you first and get comfortable before stretching their limits.

And really, it's not so much as "asking" as putting your foot down. This may be hard at first, but if you open yourself up to a "yes or no" question, they're going to automatically say no, because they said so. An example of this would be "I want to go to the movies this Friday with so and so. A lot of people will be there and I'll be home by xxx. I'll text you when I get there."

Depending on how they answer, you may end up having to barter and convince them. "I've been doing really well in school lately and I don't go out a lot. I'll be sure to be careful, xxx is driving." It also helps if your parents know who you are hanging out with. If you have to bring them by, go for it. Play video games, ask if they can come over for dinner, etc. If you're parents are comfortable with your choice in friends, they'll be less likely to say no.

If you give up, you'll always regret watching your life pass without you doing anything about it.
If you give up, you'll always regret watching your life pass without you doing anything about it. | Source

Be Patient and Keep Trying

I can't stress how important it is to keep trying and pushing your boundaries. Depending on how overprotective and how hard it is for you to get your parents to agree to let you have your way, the longer it'll take to get them used to the idea.

One of the things my mom always complained about it that I was "given a little freedom and then I took advantage of it." Yeah, because I had been cooped up for years and years! But realistically, this made it harder to get her used to the idea of me going out. I probably should have taken it slower, but by that time I was 19 or 20 and I knew that she was being unreasonable.

Be prepared for "I'm not talking to you" and the silent treatment every once in a while. I luckily had my dad to help calm my mom down sometimes, but I would still come home and find that my mom wasn't speaking to me. Eventually though, she did finally get used to me leaving the house, having a job, hanging out with friends and having a boyfriend. It wasn't in any way easy for her to accept it, but I tried to make it easier by spending time with her.

I figure that one of her biggest fears was me not wanting to spend time with her, so I made sure to still watch tv and our shows together and keep in touch with her via texting when I could.

It's not easy, but if it's something that you want, keep trying. It's well worth the struggle and once you finally do gain your freedom and independence, you'll find that you don't feel as anxious, lonely and caged up as you used to.


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      hadil 2 years ago

      very good article :)

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 20 months ago from Manila, Philippines

      Hello, my dear. I'm now 52 years old, and I can very well relate to your situation. I also grew up with overprotective parents, and I can say it was really a pain!

      I am the fourth of six children (a boy followed by five girls). My late mom was the more overprotective parent. She forbade me and my sisters to have boyfriends when we were teens. (We all hated it whenever she'd say her "I completely forbid this and that..." line.) Sad to say, this caused 2 of my rebellious sisters to have babies out of wedlock. It was only then that my late parents came to their senses and became more lenient.

      I must admit that my late mom was narrow-minded and short-tempered. Many times, I would give her the silent treatment. Yes, I also resented her for so many things, like when she berated me once in school, and always made me feel like I were second best. (Two of my sisters, you see, are now achievers in their chosen fields.)

      My overprotective mom has also caused my brother to become what he is now - a man with low self-esteem. He is unmarried, insecure, withdrawn, and professionally unsuccessful. He leans on my older sisters for support.

      But how did I fight all this? Simply by showing my parents that I was capable of achieving my professional goals. When this happened, they finally shut up and I gained their trust.

      I enjoyed freedom when I married and moved out of the house. Luckily, my late parents liked my husband. But now, I'm a widow with an adolescent son, and I make sure to let him be and enjoy his freedom. I also try to be a friend to him so he can open up to me about anything that concerns him. Likewise, I give him a lot of encouragement when it comes to his skills, talents, or interests.

      I do believe it's essential for us parents and you kids to keep our communication lines open. This fosters understanding, respect for the other, and forgiveness. Just imagine what a bright and cheerful home there would be!

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      MissE 19 months ago

      I can so identify with your brother, Charito1962. At 27 I am finally making my move. After my sister had moved in with someone who my mother did not approve of, and when I contemplated taking a similar route a couple of years later, my mother said she wasn't having another one going down that road. I was unable to stand up to her as my sister did before me, I was punished by the permanent removal of a privilege and felt like I was wrong. My sister is now professionally and socially successful and looking to spread her wings further with travel as I while away my time in the parental home. Not anymore! I agree about the baby steps in this very helpful article, one thing at a time or it can get overwhelming to break out of the comfort zone.

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