January 19, 2013 WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR PARENTS TREAT YOU LIKE A BABY This question comes from Kate, who writes: Most people have the freedom to do whatever they want at my school. My parents don’t want me having a Facebook or going to the youth center dances at my school. I feel like they are treating me like a baby. When someone asks if I can go to the youth center, I say that I can’t because my parents won’t let me. They say, “That really sucks for you,” and then they start bragging about how fun it is! I am so treated like a baby! What should I do? My advice: Hi Kate! I’m so sorry that you haven’t been able to go to a SINGLE dance. I totally get how annoying that would be! Parents can be SO protective sometimes. Seriously, sometimes before I ride my bike, my mom reminds me a MILLION times to wear my helmet. I bet she’d wrap me in bubble wrap if she could! Then there are times when I’m going to the animal shelter, and she yells, “Don’t put your hands near the puppies’ mouths!” First of all, they’re PUPPIES! But even still, I’d never walk in and think, “Hmm, I wonder what would happen if I put my fingers RIGHT near that dog’s teeth?!” But back to you…it sounds like your parents are SUPER rigid with their rules because they want to make sure you don’t get hurt. There are a couple things you could do to try to improve things. The first is to show them you’re growing up and becoming trustworthy and responsible. You could say something like, “I know you’re nervous about me going to a dance, but I’d like to earn your trust so I can go someday. How can I do that?” That alone will make you sound super mature!! Maybe they’ll let you start small with doing something they don’t usually let you do, and then when they see you can handle it, they’ll slowly start letting you do more things. With Facebook, you could ask them if they’d let you have an account if they could monitor it. I mean, clearly that wouldn’t be IDEAL, but it’s a start! And the same thing might happen…maybe over time, when they see they can trust you and you won’t get hurt, they’ll give you a little more freedom. My main advice is to be really calm when you talk to them. If you freak out or yell or anything, they could say, “We’ll stop treating you like a baby when you stop acting like one!” But if you ask them to give you a little more space and tell them you want to prove yourself, they’ll likely be a lot more receptive! What do you guys think? Do you have any advice for Kate?