How to get your parents to let you have a social life

teefah asks: I’m in grade 11 this year. This is my third year of home schooling, because my parents took me out of school. They didn’t like the friends I had. I had no problem with my home schooling up until this year. I feel really lonely all the time and I don’t get to go to see friends. All I have is family. I really adore them, but now since I’m so deeply in love with this one guy for the past 2 years that lives far from me, they’re not okay with it. Every time they find out they stop speaking to me. I always felt like I belonged someplace else. From the age of 10, I wanted to run away from home. At this stage I really just want to leave, even if it’s to family far away. I have made many mistakes, but they won’t forget my mistakes. I feel lonely all the time (especially because my siblings stopped talking to me)! Easter weekend is coming up and I don’t want to face the family, because they don’t talk to me. Please tell me what to do? I know running away is wrong.

Hi teefah –


I have to admit, when I read your letter, I keep picturing you at the top of a tall tower, throwing your long hair out the window every day in hopes a prince will climb up it! You’re right – something has to change!


You’re also right that running away wouldn’t solve anything. I’ve done it a few times (not out of pain like yours, just following interesting smells for a while), and it has never worked out well. You end up lonely, scared, and potentially in great danger (it’s awful to say, but we dogs aren’t the only ones who sometimes get grabbed and put in the back of cars by strangers).


What bothers me the most is how angry your family gets when you mention this boy. Is there something specific about him that bothers them? You mention having made mistakes – was he involved in them in some way? I could understand if he’d done something so bad that your family put out a rule that you could never see him again. (It’s harsh, but I could understand. If I were a human and my daughter’s boyfriend did something really bad – sneaked some drugs into what she was drinking, or had her be an accessory to a crime or something like that – I could easily put out a rule like that!)


It seems to me that some sort of compromise needs to be reached. If there’s something they hate about that guy, that’s still not a reason why you can’t be meeting up with other teens (and if there isn’t a specific reason they dislike that guy, then it sounds like they should ease up!).


The tough question is how to talk to them about it. It sounds like bringing the boy up isn’t the best way to open the subject. But would they be okay with you saying you want to be better company to them? And when they say “Good, you should be!” you can then say that you think you could be, if you could just have a bit more of a social life. That you don’t want to break any rules or get in any trouble, but just get out of the house some, just as any other teenager needs to.


Then… it comes do doing some finessing. If they express doubt that you can handle the responsibility of freedom, then I’d suggest you ask for very little (at first). Such as to go out to see a movie with some girl friend that they like. If they are a little more open, you could ask for a day with a group of friends they trust.


Now I realize you’re in love with this boy. I’m not ignoring that. But I’m suggesting that you work your way up to being able to see him, if that’s possible. Maybe you can get them to allow you to do a bit more every few weeks, till the day comes when they are trusting you a lot. And once they do, you could suggest that the boy come to visit you there. That they spend some time with him, if that’s something you think would be a good idea.


I know none of these ideas sound perfect. They’re not. You are truly in a tough place, teefah. What I’m suggesting overall is to try to improve your situation bit-by-bit, instead of going for all you want at once. If you think that might work, go ahead and try it.


And please let me know what happens. I’m fascinated to see how this turns out!




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