Wednesday, November 2, 2011

College Student Returns Home To Discover House Rules Still Apply

Dear Tazi-Kat:

I am 18 years old, and a freshman in college. I live on campus, and am able to pretty much live my life the way I want. I do not act irresponsibly, I have been getting good grades, and overall I feel I have adjusted well to living life as an independent adult. Thanksgiving is coming up, and I will be returning home for the first time to visit with my family and see all of my friends again. I was looking forward to this trip, until last night. My parents called me to give me a "heads up" as to what is expected of me when I return home for the long Thanksgiving weekend. I can agree to all of their requests except for one: I am to obey a curfew!

Living in a dormitory, I have been able to come and go as I please and stay out as late as I please. On nights that I do stay out to all hours with my friends, we are usually just hanging out and enjoying ourselves. I think I have proven that I can stay out of trouble and that a curfew is unnecessary; but my parents will not budge. Since I go to school out of state, I do not get to see my friends from high school very often, and I do not want my time with them to be truncated by some stupid curfew.

I would like to be able to come and go as I please in my own home, as I am when I am at school; but my parents have said that if I want to treat their house like a hotel than I can go stay in a hotel - and pay for it myself. A decent hotel room will cost me around $100 a night, leaving me with no money left over to go out places. Plus, I honestly believe my friends will all see my hotel room as a place to party and I do not want that! Inevitably, damage would occur and I would be responsible for paying it.

Tazi-Kat, since when did my home become "their house"? And furthermore, how do I convince by parents they are being unreasonable?

Miss Independent

Dear Miss Independent:

It sounds to me like a more appropriate moniker would be Miss Behavin'. As independent as you may think you are, the fact remains that you are still dependant upon your parents for many things - starting with a place to stay when you return to your hometown.

To answer your first question, "your home" has always been your "parent's house" - you just never realized it before now. It is your parents who pay the mortgage, the taxes, and the upkeep and repairs on the place; that makes it their house, and therefore gives them the right to lay down the rules they seek to be obeyed.

For just a minute, I will suspend the reality that they are your parents and worry about you when you are out until all hours of the night (and therefore are probably not sleeping anyway), and look at this issue as a matter of basic courtesy: Arriving home in the middle of the night disturbs the quiet and thus disturbs the sleep of other members of the house. If you were a house-guest of someone, would you behave this way? If so, I must say, you would make a very poor guest and would probably not be invited back.

The fact that you have thought through the idea of renting a hotel room - and realize that your friends will probably see it as party central - shows very mature thinking on your part. An independent adult (as you feel you have adjusted well to being) would have the courage to stand up to her friends and tell them that her hotel room is off-limits to wild parties.

As for the cost of a "decent hotel room", perhaps you will have to settle for a merely adequate hotel room (think a no-frills place like Motel 6 or Super 8) in order to have cash left over to socialize with your friends. Or, you could decide to swallow your pride and agree to live by your parents rules. Thus are the options that face an independent adult in this situation.


P.S. You do not say what your curfew would be; but perhaps if you show your letter to your parents, and discuss the situation with them, they may be willing to extend your curfew by an hour or so, until midnight or 1:00 AM.

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