Growing up with over protective parents

August 26, 2019

Growing up freedom was a concept I had little experience with. I would watch my friends hang out after school and at weekends without having to plan a month in advance, and I was jealous.

Having two younger brothers meant that from the age 7 onwards my life has been half taking care of my brothers and half being told I couldn't do things or have friends over because of my brothers. In recent years my parents have tried to say I could have friends over but a common thing is after they leave my parents complain they had to tidy up even though the house wasn't too messy to begin with or make comments about my friends that make me upset, so I don't invite my friends over anymore. Which means unless they invite me out, I don't see them at all.

I would see my friends going to sleepovers at each other houses all the time and I would always wish to be with them. On the occasions I was invited to I couldn't go for some reason or the other unless it was at my oldest friend’s house, as my parents were very close with her parents. In the rare occasion, my parents let me stay over at a classmates house they would have to say hi to their parents, which meant I couldn't stay over for non-parent chaperoned sleepovers which were the ones my friend had after turning 16, and they would usually be at the door at 9 am ready to collect me and they would come to the door again to talk to their parents, which just came to me as them not trusting me to behave at someone else's home.

I remember the joy I had when I was allowed to go to Germany on a school exchange trip, the excitement I had to be away from my family on a trip where we weren't stuck with teachers all the time. But I realised on that trip that I had no experience of life without my parents hovering over me. This was the first time I had money, and I will admit I went a bit crazy when we were allowed to go shopping in Dortmund, I bought skirts that my parents would deem a little too short, I bought lipstick and fancy nail polishes. I lived what I thought was the dream when one day I and my exchange partner hopped on some bikes and just went wandering around Schwerte, with another exchange pair, until it was time to go back for dinner. Following this trip, I yearned to leave home behind, to be able to live a life where I could do whatever I want.

It's been 6 years since that trip and I have spent a prolonged time away from home in the shape of the university, but I still feel trapped as I still feel babied now at 19. I recently brought up the topic of me dying my hair, something to help me find myself as I feel I've been squished into this box of what my parents want me to be. I don't think I have ever had an aspect of my life not dictated to me by my parents until it came to picking my university, which my mum had tried to do for me. That was the first time I 'stepped out of line' and felt happy with my own decision. on a note of things my mum does for me, at 19 she still won't let me go clothes shopping on my own as she wants doesn't trust me to pick out my own style of clothes.

I remember when I was picking my a-levels, I wanted to do all creative subjects as that is where I thrive and do best, but my parents were not happy and encouraged me to add maths to my list. To do maths you needed to get a B or higher in the subject and I knew I wasn't going to get that but I was too scared to say no to my parents. So when I was pulled aside on GCSE's results day to be told I hadn't made the grade for maths, I was overjoyed, but the disappointment my parents had was more than I'd seen before, and that made me feel bad for not being maths inclined. At the end rather than picking art or history as I would have done, I picked economics to take the spot of maths. I struggled with this subject as it was quite like maths with its graphs and statistics, but I managed to pass it in the end with the help of a tutor.

As I mentioned, I feared my parent's disappointment, their disapproval made me think I had bad ideas. When my year 8 crush asked me out I was scared to tell my parents as they were and still are very education first, friends and relationships when you have a stable job, and this always made me sad as my friends parents encouraged them to meet people and experience things like dating and parties in safe environments full of love and support whereas mine made me feel anxious telling them anything personal. I did tell my mum and her first question was "Is he white?" and for me, at that time, I didn't understand why she asked, considering I went to a very white school in a very good neighbourhood, but looking back I guess she had wanted me to see a black boy instead. Since then I have not been open about anything like that, so they could live their fantasy of me being 100% dedicated to studies. which is sad because there have been countless times where I cried myself to sleep over boys or crumbling friendships where I could have used a hug and some soft words instead of judgement and 'I told you so's'. Even now at nearly 20, I don't feel like I would be comfortable telling my parents about potential boyfriends as I know they won't approve since I am meant to be studying for uni 24/7.

When it came to moving to go to university I was overjoyed. From the age, if 14 I had big plans for my uni experience, being away from home I wanted to dye my hair wonderful colours and go out with many boys and party all the time. But the grasp from my parents hasn't loosened. I have to call every day otherwise my mum sends sad texts about not hearing my voice or she calls me, and I send good night and good morning texts otherwise I get to hear all about it or get a phone call about it. I understand it’s because I’m their firstborn and they miss me but it feels trapping sometimes. At first, it was fine but when I started with society it meant I didn't feel good going out with them after society was finished as I didn't know if I would get a phone call and I didn't do freshers out of fear my parents would be upset if I stayed out with everyone. I even somehow got trapped into coming home every other weekend even if I was busy and should have stayed at uni to do work. It’s safe to say I didn’t get to do anything younger me dreamed of doing.

Since A-levels, I have discussed with them about having a little bit more freedom to move around, since I was about to leave home for university, and they were open to letting me travel around town on my own and they even let me walk to school instead of having my dad drop me off as he has done since I was little. This was a small step in the right direction and even that small step into freedom made me feel much happier than i had ever been before.

Going forward I hope to try and open up even though the idea terrifies me as I would love to have a close relationship with my parents but that will take time and I need some time to figure myself out and gain some confidence in knowing who I am before I can allow them to know me as I know they still have power over what I think about myself.

In conclusion, growing up with overprotective, strict parents I just felt fear when it came to telling them anything other than education and some light friendship things. I felt fear in showing emotion because there would be questions to answer which made me anxious. But I want to get over feeling scared of my parents, which will be hard, but I believe it would be nice to be able to be friends with my parents as an adult.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.