In an interesting and bazaar court case in Ohio, a 21-year-old musical theatre student has won the right to have her “helicopter parents” stop stalking her. Aubrey Ireland says she was treated like a “dog with a collar on” and she filed the order as a last resort which will last until Sept 23, 2013. Aubrey argued that because her parents were paying her tuition, room and board for college they thought they could control her whole life such as who she hung out with and what she did. A tough situation I think many students could relate to when mom and dad are footing the bills – but not to this degree.
The honours student said that she would have to be on Skype all the time to show her parents where she was. She would often have to keep Skype on all night so that her mom could watch her sleep. Her parents would also drive thousands of miles to visit her at school unannounced. They spyware to her laptop and her cell phone to monitor her. Aubrey’s school had to hire security guards to keep her parents from coming to all of her concerts. When her parents cut off her tuition, the school gave her a scholarship so she could keep going to college.
Aubrey has been involved in singing, acting and dancing since was “2.5 years old” and according to her parents has been doted on since she was a little gurl. Audrey’s parents claim that she is “promiscuous, uses drugs and has mental health issues” from her dad’s side of the family; Aubrey’s parents say that her “risky” behaviour specifically worried them because of her susceptibility to mental health issues. When her parents were issued a restraining order, Aubrey’s parents blamed her, saying she was a “good actor” and a “good liar.” Aubrey, on the other hand, just believes her parents want to follow her around and slander her name.
I think this case is rather unbelievable. First of all, parents with children in university need to stop being “helicopter parents” and let their children start looking after themselves. For instance, they need to let them start dealing with issues such as managing paying bills, even if they are paying for tuition and other expenses. In this case, Aubrey was an honors student and her parents had no right to monitor her the way they did. Things such as watching her on Skype, monitoring her cell phone and computer and driving to see her without prior notice all screams creepy and overbearing.
Gurls such as Aubrey need to learn how to manage their own social lives, the times they sleep and study, who they call and how they use their computer – these are all privacy issues Aubrey should have never had to deal with. Obviously, her parents did not trust her. Aubrey is an extremely dedicated and talented student, and demonstrated not only by her honors average, but her school’s willingness to hire body guards to protect her from her parents and pay for her tuition when they refused to continue to pay it.
Although you would think Aubrey’s parents would know her best, the fact that she is “promiscuous, using drugs and has mental health issues” does not seem to fit with the picture of this honours student. Even if she was promiscuous and using drugs, this is no different than many college students. Unless she was doing heroine or some drug as dangerous as that I do not think her parents can use this as an excuse to monitor her the way they did. As for the mental health issues, her parents should have developed a trusting relationship with Aubrey in case she actually did have mental health issues.
Accusing someone of being mentally unstable is not something to take lightly; you do not do this if you are not sure a person is suffering from a mental illness. Also, Aubrey has to be able to trust her parents in order for her to work with them, a doctor and her supposed mental issues. This situation was not healthy for Aubrey to be in whatever her mental health issues or lack thereof. For Aubrey’s parents to call her a “liar” and accuse her of “acting” is not good parenting.
It is difficult to know exactly what was/is going on between Aubrey and her parents, but hopefully the restraining order will provide both parties some much needed space from each other. Aubrey can perhaps concentrate more on her performing arts and developing life skills on her own. Perhaps, one day, trust can be restored between both Aubrey and her parents but at this point, the situation looks doubtful.