“Help! My mom doesn’t want to let me grow up”

This will be the last weekly column on HelloGiggles. Thanks for your hundreds of questions and for being so truthful, searching, and sweet. Keep an eye out for features on issues that concern young people growing up in a sometimes complicated and challenging world. Check out the archives for advice on issues from boyfriends to parent problems to bikini waxing. You can still send your letters to [email protected]

Dear Sarah,

I’m a 17-year-old girl who doesn’t see eye to eye with her own mother. I want to leave my town as soon as I can for college, but my mother wants me to go community college and live at home for two more years. I’m not psyched. My goal is to be a teacher and I don’t want to put that on hold for community college. I also want to experience life that isn’t in a small town consisting of a few churches, a gas station, and a Dairy Queen. Do you think I should follow my mother’s wishes and be stuck here for an extra two years while the rest of my friends are off at college—or should I follow my dream and move away? I’m eligible for many different types of scholarships and grants, so it’s not a cost issue.


Confused Teen in Middle America

Dear Confused,

I’d be curious to learn why your mom wants you to take this particular academic route and stay at home. Is she sad about seeing you fly out of the nest? Is she having trouble recognizing you aren’t a kid anymore? Whatever the reason, if you understand it, it could be helpful to you when you assault her with your genius, unstoppable plan for world domination (and becoming a teacher).

One of the best ways to make parents hear you when you aren’t feeling understood is not to get upset and throw your phone and slam your door and stay in your room FOREVER. (Maybe you didn’t do any of that, I’m channeling my own teen years here). Instead, it is to construct a thoughtful, researched, logical road map to getting exactly where you want to be and to present it in a calm, confident manner. This often has the effect of totally messing with parents perceptions—in a good way. I should know, I also have a 17-year-old daughter with a brain of her own and big dreams that I’m not always prepared for and don’t include living with me till the end of time, which,frankly, I would really enjoy. Sometimes parents need a wake up call.

Speak with your favorite teachers, your school principal, your guidance counselor and/or any other adult mentors who may have resources and knowledge about how to achieve your goals. Call the various colleges you are interested in, find out about their programs and scholarships. Consult the Interwebs. And don’t forget your school or local library—librarians LIVE for this kind of thing. Just saying that you want to move away to college and cost isn’t an issue because there are grants out there in the universe isn’t enough. You need to find out the real deal because if your mother is resistant she’s certainly not going to do it for you.

If your mom is still pushing back after you present her with your brilliant scheme, you will have made many allies during the research process who you can call on to help you.

Let us know how things are going!

Love, Sarah

Have an issue that could use a mom’s-eye-view? Our advice column features a real live mother of three who is ready to discuss any of your burning questions judgment—and baggage—free. Email [email protected] with the subject line “Dear Mom.” Please include your first name or nickname and where you are from. Questions may be edited for clarity and length.

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