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How Come I'm Not Allowed?
ASK LORI AND LIANE, May 2007, by Lori Clemente
How Come I’m
I am 14 years old and my mom and dad are really strict. They say that girls shouldn’t do all of the things that boys do. I am only allowed to go to school and church. They give lots of freedom to my older brother, who is 17, because he is a boy. He also doesn’t have to do as many chores around the house as I do. We have different rules. When I tell my parents that my friends go out and do things like overnight school trips, dances or parties, they tell me that this is just the way it is in our family and I have to accept it. I feel so frustrated and trapped. It isn’t fair. Why do I have to stay home all the time? Please help me. I feel like I’m missing out on my life!!
I can see how you feel that you are in a really difficult position. Between what you want and feel ready for, and what your parents believe is right for you. They may be comparing life from when they grew up to the way things are now. They may not see the same differences that you do, from then and now. But they do love you and care about your safety and well being. It is important to them that you are not influenced negatively by your friends. It’s your job to show them that your friends may not be as bad as they think, and that they can be trusted. Here are some things you can try:
• Have patience and start with small steps. Try to get involved with some school-related activities before and after school and encourage your parents to attend as well.
• Be sure to build their trust by respecting their curfew; be home when you say you will be home!
• Usually there is one parent that you have an easier time talking to. Talk to them and explain where you want to go, why and with whom.
• Invite your friends over so your parents can get to know them and trust them.
• Try to introduce your parents to your friend’s parents. If they know more about your friend’s backgrounds and trust your friend’s parents, they may allow you to spend more time with them outside of school hours.
Your parents just want you to be safe and they may be worried that something bad may happen to you if they “let you go.” Show them that you are a smart young woman that is capable of making good choices and they will eventually give you more and more freedom to make those choices yourself.