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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The peril of overprotective parents

    It was 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning when I got the call; it was loud and unwelcome, and it was the sound of my cell phone playing “”These Words”” by Natasha Bedingfield. I was so stunned I jumped off of the top bunk onto the hard tiled floor, which I do not recommend to anyone, and ran towards the phone just to see the surface read “”Dad.””

    From what I’ve heard, I’m not the only one with overprotective family members. Maybe you’ll recognize this description: They tend to call at inconvenient times, make you feel guilty about doing the simplest things, and limit you from doing 90 percent of the activities you should be allowed to do until you reach the blessed age of 18. If you answered yes to two or more of the aforementioned, you have parents that run on child security level red.

    In my opinion, the problem stems from the generation gap; on many occasions I’ve wondered if the fight is really me pitched against my dad or the greater battle, Team Generation X/Y vs. Team Post-WWII. If you think about it historically, most of our parents were children during the 1950s and 1960s, a very different time in our nation’s history with varied senses of responsibility: People came into wars by draft, not by choice, the voting age was 21, and children had to grow up fast. For many of that era, there was no “”college””, no “”security,”” no “”childhood.””

    Comparatively, I can see how to some members of my family think that my generation has everything handed to them. We have the opportunity to enjoy free education until the 12th grade, our parents are financially responsible for us until we are 21 years old, and compared with the values they grew up with, we tend to be self-interested. It doesn’t take any stretch of the imagination to understand where they’re coming from; I have opportunities that they could have only dreamed of.

    Furthermore, they see the difference between our worlds every time we open up our laptops, every time they see us text, every time their workplaces hold updating seminars, and every time younger and younger people enter the workforce; it can only be described as “”modernization.”” The truth is that they don’t understand our difference as much as they would like to, and that means that our world is terra nullius, or “”no man’s land.””

    Now ask yourself, if your child were headed out day after day into a world you weren’t familiar with, how willing would you be to let them off the leash?

    Yes they can be pesky, they can be annoying and they can be dead wrong, but the truth is that they care. They wouldn’t be calling as much if they didn’t want to know what was going on; they wouldn’t be limiting your exposure to life if they had a clue what you would be exposed to without them. The plain and simple truth of the matter is sometimes they just want to know that you’re safe and well.

    Some would say, “”If they actually trusted me, then I wouldn’t have a problem.”” Consider this thought for a second: trust in whom or in what? I’m sure that by this point in my life my parents trust me and my decisions because I don’t really give them any excuse not to the majority of the time. The real question is if they trust the people that they don’t know, the environment that they can’t predict, and the world I live in, which despite how they act at times, they cannot control.

    Others would point out, “”I’m in college! I don’t need their advice anymore!”” Well, take mine and be honest: you do need it because this is a very pivotal time in our lives and we should take all the help we can get. When you’re in your forth week and you start missing your own room, your own bed, your own lifestyle and familiar people, places, and things, you’ll probably have a greater respect for how much you have relied on their sheltering in the past, and exactly how much you still need to learn.

    So when they call, pick up the phone; when they say “”I love you,”” say something kind back; and when you say you’ll write home, actually write home. Make them see they have no need to be worried, and maybe the world will no longer be too scary to let their child wander into alone; maybe, just maybe, there won’t be a need for “”the leash.””

    Until that day comes, I suggest getting a less perky ring tone so your Sunday morning calls won’t be quite as jarring as mine was.

    – Jessica Fraser is a freshman majoring in journalism and political science.

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