• Fri, Dec 28 2012

A Legal Triumph Over Helicopter Parenting (Also Apparently Known As ‘Stalking’)

helicopter parents

I do not lie to my parents about one of the biggest reasons I opted to go to college 2500 miles from my hometown: to get away from them. I love them with all of my being and I think they’re pretty fantastic parents, but given that I am (A) the youngest and (B) the only daughter, they tend to get pretty overbearing. Up until, oh, 24 hours ago, I had been living with them for six months post-graduating, and I still have never had a male sleep over (unless he stayed in our basement) nor gone more than twelve hours without checking in. That said, apparently my semi-helicopter parents were pretty tame by comparison.

Aubrey Ireland, 21, is a theater student at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. She’s on the dean’s list and has won several major roles in her school’s musicals. Basically, she’s the dream of many parents with high expectations. However, her super helicopter parents seemed to expect a bit more than she was comfortable with, as she actually filed a civil stalking order against them.

While this may seem a bit extreme, they were doing quite a few intensely overbearing things: they had installed software to monitor her computer and phone use, paid unannounced visits (they live 600 miles away), surprised Aubrey’s department head, accused her of doing drugs, being “promiscuous” and having mental disorders…if I were her, I have a feeling I’d be pretty goddamned fed up, too.

According to ABC News, Aubrey said, ”They basically thought that they were paying for my college tuition and living expenses that they could tell me what to do who to hang out with … basically control all of my daily life.”

Now, I can understand the argument I do not doubt my own parents would have in favor of hers: if they pay the bills, they should be able to control their daughter’s life. Trust me, I get it; when you put in money and years of time into a kid’s future, you want him or her to “turn out well,” so to speak. But that does not mean controlling every move. For goodness’ sake, haven’t we learned enough from television to know by now that being insane helicopter parents tends to backfire? Not only will your kids likely attempt to branch out even further than the boundaries they would’ve actually set for themselves that you have so starkly pushed inwards, but they will also probably resent you a bit. I love my parents, as I said, but I admittedly still resent them for not letting me make my own mistakes, as well as turning me into one of the most paranoid people I’ve ever met (seriously, in the random event that any of you ever meet me, I am crazy and always need to sit facing a door or I get anxious because my own helicopter parents instilled my perpetual fear of not escaping buildings if there was a fire/shooter/flood/whatever).

Monitoring every keystroke and text message is fucking stressful to the person being meticulously watched. What if she feels like watching porn? What if she wants to discuss some emotional troubles she’s been having, but (obviously) can’t talk to her parents about them? Oh, and also, apparently the young woman was unable to even sleep like a normal person:

“My mom has always been very overly involved,” Ireland said. “I would have to get on Skype all the time to show them that I was in my dorm room, or there were nights I had to leave my Skype on all night and my mom would watch me basically sleep.”

You know who else watches people sleep? Stalkers. Stalkers and this guy:

helicopter parents - Twilight version

See? IT’S WEIRD TO WATCH PEOPLE SLEEP.

Anyway, it seems that a judge totally agreed with Aubrey Ireland, because Common Pleas Court Judge Jody Luebbers ruled in her favor and ordered that parents David and Julie Ireland must stay 500 feet from her. They’re none-too-pleased at the way this has all panned out so publicly, and have decided they want $88,000 as a refund of the money they’ve already put towards her education. Julie also insists that they “are not the problem” and “are not bothering her,” which sounds ridiculous considering there are not too many kids who would take their parents to court if they were just casually checking in every other day; Aubrey herself states that it was a “last resort.”

In any case, I think we can all just agree that watching your kid sleep — nay, watching anyone sleep — is fucking bizarre and creepy. It just is. Don’t do it.

Photos: Arrested Development/Twilight

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