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Old 07-03-2008, 02:18 PM   #1
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Unhappy convincing the parents (trust me this is nearly impossible)

This is really long sorry, but i need help xD
But I would still like to hear any miraculous stories of hard headed overprotective parents letting their teenagers away for a bit.

Heres some background info, I am currently 16 years old, and I love traveling, I cant stay in one place or I start feeling depressed (no lie). This year my parents didnt take me home to visit family in Hungary because we couldnt save money up in time. I was hoping to travel alone during the winter break in exchange and go to England (to visit some friends) and Hungary (to visit family). Now I knew that my chances of being allowed to go where slim to none but I truely wasnt expecting the absolute shut down of NOs they managed to give me (mainly my father).

To give you a clue about how protective they are, I wasn't allowed to go to birthday parties or over to friends houses until I was around 12/13 in fear that I would get raped by sadistic fathers? (i guess that happens a lot?)

So I finally mustered up the courage to ask, and before I could even get a chance to finish my sentence, a 2 day lecture from my father had already begun. Everything from rape to murder to mugging was brought up and covered, he even brought up 2 actual examples. The only thing he really had against me that I couldnt get around was that he kept generalizing everything by saying "you are 16". As if it justified the whole entire arguement, and as if it ment anything.

I finally gave up because I was so shut down and immediatly forgot any chance of me being independent before turning 18.
But now I want to go to canada for a gathering and to visit my friend. This will be in toronto (i live in the U.S./california). My friend is 22 years old she is a high school teacher and lives in New England (so we would meet in toronto). I would only go for 3 days: the day before the gathering and the day after! I already tried approaching my mom seperately explaining everything and assuring her that it would be safe because toronto is relatively closer and i would be with someone i know. But right away I got "Your 16 you arent going anywhere"

I dont know how to get around this! I have examples and plenty of others who have met and gone to gatherings that are my age, but they always say "we dont care about other irresponsible parents, we only care about what you do".

And when I asked my father what he thinks 2 years will do to me that will change me as a person. He said "you wont change probably, but i get to keep you away from the world for as long as possible and maybe i can change your mind about moving away for college. after that I would still keep you from leaving but legally there isnt anything i can do."
I literally was so shocked that I didnt know whether to laugh or cry at this ridiculous statement. The fact that I would change my mind is even more ridiculous, because I am just as hard headed as them and this just makes me even more determined to leave home ASAP!

Okay so this is pretty much it, any hard hitting advice?
Keep in mind my parents brought me up with their eastern european "hungarian" ways, so its probably way different for others.

Please and thank you!
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Old 07-03-2008, 02:31 PM   #2
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Wow, well you didn't mention whether you were male or female. I know in a perfect world - that does not matter, or should not matter. But in terms of security and safety it definetly could.

A lot of your problems probably come from systematic issues in your interpersonal relationships with your parents. AKA: everyday living and the choices you make, the balance of power, etc. If you are passive and obedient to your parents on all of the little things, it stands to reason that they will hold power and control over you for large decisions as well. You should try and gradually taking power from your parents... It happens naturally over time as you get older, but you can most definelty fight for it as well. When you get to be my age (26), parents will begin asking you for permission, and they will stop trying to give you orders and direction. The case and point is between me and my little sister. I stopped listening to my parents when I was your age and gradually they just gave up on me. Whereas my sister was obedient up till the age of 20. If you want something, fight for it. Start doing the little things, flex your individuality, rebel, form opinions that are contrary from your parents.... break away from family or cultural traditions. Eventually you will wear your parents down. Don't get me wrong, parents are awesome and love their kids - they want only what is best. And they are great for guidance... but there comes a time in your life when you realize that 60% of the stuff your parents have told you is utter bullshit.

With regards to your trip planning: identify the key points of contention with your father, and write them down. Figure out exactly what he is worried about and categorically research and plan an arguement to break that down. Most often these opinions are based on idiocy, biasedness, or myths. Find out statistics on the dangers of being raped or dying in travel homicide versus other common ways of dying/etc and show them to your parents. Does your dad drive a motorcycle? Smoke? Work in a mine? Show him that his chances of dying are much higher than potentially being raped and killed in London.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-03-2008, 03:53 PM   #3
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Your dad sounds like he has made up his mind and you can throw as many statistics and facts at him as you want but hes prob not going to change his mind (do you know how many times I have tried to tell my mom she needs to buy the 24 pack of toilet paper because its irrefutably mathematically proven to be cheaper per unit? but does she listen? no!). I think it might be best to wait until you are 18. In the meantime show him how responsible you can be. If you don't have one already, find a job. Maybe you can join a club in school that would let you go away on a day trip for a competition for example; you would be under adult supervision. If he objects to these things point out that he is doing you a disservice by shielding you from the world. He already thinks he can convince you to stay for college. From this logic would he want you to remain at home and shield you even further? Does he want the financial burden of you living with him forever? Doesn't he want his children to leave the nest and live happy productive lives? Doesn't he want him and your mom to enjoy the benefits of their golden years with an empty nest? When you do go away to college at 18 you may not properly know how to act in the world without some experience. He may still oppose your traveling or going away to school but his argument will be shaky if you have exhibited some independence. I know this is prob not the answer you want to hear but its prob best to wait. Try to maintain a relationship with you dad because A. he's your dad and B. you have to deal with him until you're 24 for financial aid stuff.

PS I have tried the "travelling is statistically safer than [insert everyday activity]" but parent will refute with "Yes but when you're here I can keep an eye on you" Don't bother.
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Old 07-03-2008, 05:27 PM   #4
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Yeah I got lucky with my folks and even though I couldn't ride my bike around the block till I was 11, by my 13th birthday I was in Costa Rica on a "mission trip" with 40 people I'd never met. Parents eventually release the tether though sometimes it can be really difficult and painful.
If your pops is that hardcore about it though, I think you should respect him. Two years is not that long in the scheme of things, get a job, save your pennies and when the time comes to try your wings, you'll be ready.
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Old 07-03-2008, 05:41 PM   #5
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Yeah, your parents sound pretty hardcore about this so you might not have much luck. I guess I could make 3 suggestions though I haven't ever gone through this myself:

1) Try using his arguments against him. Maybe you can guilt trip them into something by saying "If you really want to protect me, you need to let me learn some independence under controlled circumstances before I'm 18. Otherwise how will I make safe choices when I'm on my own?"

2) What other kinds of "responsibility" do you have? Do you have a job? I guess this is similar to snowball's point, start asserting your independence in whatever ways you can!

3) Since it seems like they're not about to cave on this matter, Plan a big blowout trip the summer after you graduate from high school....maybe 3 months backpacking in Europe or SE Asia depending on funds. And don't let them back you down!! See this thread for some first hand accounts, I think Laura's (simplyangelic) methods might be an approach to consider:

2 years will pass pretty fast if you've got a goal to save $$ for and plan for, there are dozens of countries to research and itineraries to consider and at last count 184,968 posts on tpunk to read :D
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Old 07-03-2008, 07:02 PM   #6
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I waited until I was 18+ and on my own money and snuck away. To be fair to your situation, I was on a "sanctioned" study abroad, and did my deviant acts when I was already thousands of miles away. But I'm a first child - you too? So obviously I'm highly breakable and murderable.

Everything I've ever wanted to do that my parents were against was resolved with persistence. Not lying, not yelling, not arguing. It depends what kind of respectful relationship you hope to have with your parents now and in the future. I wanted to be a vegetarian and my parents were freakishly anti. It took two years of repeating my wish and independent research into tofu (plus a job at a Chinese restaurant that expanded my vegetable repertoire). Traveling abroad took about a year as well. I had to prove it wasn't a whim. And once I got there (like I mentioned above) I stretched my wings in a safe, independent way. I know I'm getting to be an old fart now (compared to 16) but aging alone doesn't deserve the credit for my parents understanding that I'm level-headed and capable.

I'd say look into travel that you have to fundraise for to go on a group trip with other like-minded youths like yourself. Something that shows your persistence and patience. Dip your toes in the water with something acceptable to your parents. I know it isn't "fair" that you have to prove yourself, but if they really are that excitable and you care about them as much as they care about you, think of "proving yourself" as a way of protecting them as opposed to fighting against their opinion of you.

Or if you don't plan on having a good relationship with your parents (either because you don't desire one or it isn't possible) then you wait until you're old enough to leave, and leave. If my experience counts, turning 18 is not the magic experience most people think it is. My mom STILL freaks out about what I do. My only relief is that she likes my boyfriend and can relax a little knowing that in a drive-by shooting, I won't die alone. Just kidding, she thinks that I won't die with him around, which is ridiculous, but I love her and I'm happy she can sleep at night now!
"I set out alone, finding no companion to cheer the way with friendly intercourse, and no party of travellers with whom to associate myself. Swayed by an overmastering impulse within me, and a long-cherished desire to visit those glorious sanctuaries, I resolved to quit all my friends and tear myself away from my home."
---Ibn Battuta, CE 1325

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Old 07-04-2008, 07:21 PM   #7
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Welcome to travelpunk justthisway !

Convincing or comforting their parents is a major concern of several tpunks. I've found other threads about the same subject, where you'll find more ideas and support.

Selling my parents the idea

Parents, how to deal with em

Convincing parents to let you go

Good luck !

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Old 07-05-2008, 04:53 AM   #8
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welcome to Travelpunk, theres no need to worry, your part of a like-minded family now.

have you considered looking at youth projects/expeditions within your area? whilst they don't allow for the same amount as independent travel, they can still create individual and in some cases life changing experiences.

(:D haha ok i know that sounds like an ad campaigne, but at 15 i went for 3 week travel jaunt with my dad - and got the bug - at 17 i went for another 3 weeks on a sea kayak expedition - my first real outdoor experience and i've been caught up in outdoor ed ever since)

because youth projects/expeditions are organised by proffessionals, they'll have all the insurance, risk assessments and other saftey procedures in place that your parents will be reassured, or at least more reassured than if you were to suggest undertaking a solo trip. This reassurance will bring them from the realm of totallity, which will give you soe room to argue your corner.

I'm not sure if they have a US branch, but provide a series of expeditions all other the world for varying lengths of time.

an option which could provide you with a bit of time to travel independently after are companies such as PGL:

or Acorn:

these are both Outdoor providers, who have centres in france, spain, italy, uk and a few other locations, don't worry if you have little of no experience, they generally provide on-site training, so they'll train you up to a sufficient level.

most of all, what ever you decide to do, always be open and honest when you talk to your parents about your trip, it will help you alot if you engage your parents as an adult, and expect them to engage you as an adult in turn.

maybe give them some suggested reading, such as Colin Mortlock's Adventure Alternative.

Good luck and happy travels.
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Old 07-05-2008, 10:57 AM   #9
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Old 07-05-2008, 05:16 PM   #10
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All this information was useful and I kind of added bits and pieces of it together to form a plan. I have started showing my parents a bit of a rebellious side so they know they can't always count on me being the perfect child. Also I have pitched the idea of doing a college prep camp in England next summer. They said that it depends on how much it costs and stuff, which is great cos I am sure that will not be a problem for me (if I want something i'll do what needs to be done). I have given up on going anywhere on my own because as someone mentioned, it does sound like they made up their mind and where not planning on changing it. But I did not go down without a fight and I made sure they knew how I feel about this and I threw every single argument at their faces. The problem was, I didn't realise that all this wasn't up for argument, because as they said "Nothing you can say will change my mind." So their approach was not very good either. I am currently working on giving them a nice good old guilt trip and its going very well .

Once again thank you to all those that helped and I will continue to follow many of the advice I received.
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