Adult chafes at her parents' surveillance

Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

bio | email

DEAR AMY: I am a professional woman in my early 30s. My parents still think they need to keep tabs on me. When they call late at night and I don't answer, it leads to panicked voice mails and angry calls to my significant other. Every call starts with, "Where are you?" Then they accuse me of "being out having fun." They have difficulty making friends and watch TV most of the time. They resent my social activities. How do I get them to act like well-adjusted adults instead of needy micromanagers?AnnoyedDEAR ANNOYED: Your parents have had 30 years of practice to micromanage your life. If they were ever going to be well-

adjusted, it probably would have happened by now. The odds that you can force them to change are slim.

Draw and enforce boundaries. Give your folks reasonable limits: "Mom, I'm not going to take your calls after 10:30 p.m. Don't call Brad late at night, either. I'll return your calls in the morning."

In terms of being out and having fun -- you should definitely own that. If this is leveled at you as an accusation, tell your folks, "I am definitely out having fun. And you should do the same." Your folks are who they are. You should be calm, respectful and kind to them. Encourage them to get busy, but understand that they are making choices and may not be able -- or willing -- to change.

DEAR AMY: "Uncertain" wondered if she and her husband should still financially support a graduate student daughter who had announced she was getting married. She said she didn't think this couple could make it financially on their own. You missed the obvious answer: "If you are mature enough to get married, you and your husband should support yourselves."Fiscally ResponsibleDEAR RESPONSIBLE: This couple should continue to finance her education, but otherwise, right you are.