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how to stop controlling parents?

acha2012acha2012 Posts: 123Registered User Junior Member
edited January 2012 in College Admissions
this is a bit of a different post for CC,
but i'm getting really annoyed with my parents.
for a year they've been pushing me to apply to MIT (even though i don't want to be an engineer...at all. its the one career im dead set against) and we argue about it on a weekly basis. where i explain why mit is wrong for me, and they explain how graduating from mit means job security.
for me, mit is completely the wrong fit, and they don't get that. all they see are those three prestigious letters.

but the fights keep getting worse and worse even though the deadline for mit apps passed a few weeks ago. today was one of the worst fights we've had and ended with my dad telling me that only getting into brown or duke would be considered a "failure", which made me extremely mad because i love both schools and would give almost anything to attend either.

how am i supposed to stop this? ive tried reasoning with them and explaining why its not the right school for me (to which they keep telling me to stop being stubborn and "see the bigger picture). i even gave mit a chance and visited over the summer, to appease them.

i put up with this for a while cuz i thought it would go away once the deadline passed, but it STILL hasn't gotten better. if anything, it's gotten worse.
what am i supposed to do?
Post edited by acha2012 on
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Replies to: how to stop controlling parents?

  • jvtDadjvtDad Posts: 658Registered User Member
    all these are just speculation, right? you haven't got accepted to mit or duke or brown. if i were you (or your parents), i wouldn't waste my time arguing over an hypothetical situation. you are in tough position. they pay for your school, they have a lot of say in it.
  • acha2012acha2012 Posts: 123Registered User Junior Member
    exactly, i havent which is why this is so pointless and such a waste of time.
    and im not even applying to mit, so why even continue pushing it? its not like i'd be able to attend.
    which is why i dont know how to stop them from arguing about it with me.
    its just not fair for them to put down my opinions, continuously and i dont know how to stop it and its really frustrating me :(
  • jvtDadjvtDad Posts: 658Registered User Member
    all i can say is I am really sorry that you have to go through all this. it shall pass. good luck to you.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 34,759Registered User Senior Member
    acha2012 wrote:
    this is a bit of a different post for CC,

    Actually, not really. Conflicts between overbearing micromanaging tiger parents and their children seem to pop up regularly.

    MIT, Brown, and Duke are all very difficult to get into, so there is a significant possibility of not getting into any of them. Which means that your relationship with your tiger parents will get even worse because you will be even more of a "failure" in their eyes.

    MIT does, however, have non-engineering/science majors, including anthropology, architecture, business, comparative media studies, economics, foreign languages and literatures, history, linguistics, literature, management, music, philosophy, political science, science/technology/society, writing and humanistic studies. However, all MIT students must take substantial math and science breadth requirements.

    Have you applied to any school that may give you a large enough merit scholarship so that you can attend without needing financial support from your parents?
  • born2dance94born2dance94 Posts: 1,646Registered User Senior Member
    Is it just your parents, or is it a cultural thing? Some cultures or groups are more concerned with prestige and/or perceived ability to do well in life than in a student enjoying themselves in college. When an argument has become redundant in my household because it no longer would make a difference (like the fact that your deadline already passed for MIT), I remind my parents that nothing can be changed, so fighting is just unnecessary and needlessly stress-inducing. Sometimes it takes a few times of me pointing this out (or yelling this), but soon they realize how immature it is of them to be fighting over something that is impossible to change. So remind your parents that without a time machine, you can't apply to MIT at this point, and ask them to please stop further stressing you out at this already difficult time in your life (college admissions season is brutal enough!). Of course, they may respond that if you had gone to MIT, you might have been able to build that time machine. ;P just kidding.
  • dfree124dfree124 Posts: 3,712- Senior Member
    Write your parent(s) a letter. It seems like your arguments consist of shouting matches, so putting things on paper keeps everything civilized. Find some facts or statistics that point out Duke and Brown are great, there's no way your parents can refute straight numbers. Try to put things on a sentimental level. Instead of arguing about what your future will be, try to reason with your parents based on the fact that it is your college experience, your life, and your decision. I'm sorry for your situation, good luck.
  • xquiksilverxxquiksilverx Posts: 463Registered User Member
    You should try what the previous posters have suggested in terms of talking calmly with your parents, and in future arguments, no matter what, *never* lose your temper. If you stay calm and collected, hopefully they will see that they're being immature.

    But there is a possibility that this might not be resolved, and you should be prepared for that. I'm sure your parents care a great deal for you, but from what you described, they're showing it in a emotionally abusive manner. They seem to equate prestige with success, and for some reason, they see Brown and Duke, which are both amazing colleges anyone would be lucky to get into, as "lower tier". This isn't really something you can change, and it's possible that they may never understand. All you can do is continue to be mature and move on.

    I also wonder if the problem is perhaps not the rankings of Brown and Duke as compared to MIT, but the major. They want you to go to MIT not just because it has a great ranking (HYP rank higher overall) but because they want you to go into engineering, right? Maybe they view the major you want to pursue as "useless" and just worry you won't be able to get a job, so maybe it will help to appease them if you say you can get a teaching certificate and use that as a back-up option or something.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Posts: 19,144Registered User Senior Member
    Good question about the major! Some parents believe that only certain majors will allow for the level of success in life that they want their children to have. If this is the issue with your parents, you probably need to sort that out. Every year we see posts here from students whose parents won't help pay for their educations because they have chosen a "wrong" major.
  • acha2012acha2012 Posts: 123Registered User Junior Member
    thank you everyone for the advice! i really appreciate it. its amazing how even though i dont know you guys, you understand and support my choice when my own parents don't.

    unfortunately, i have tried talking calmly with them. i have tried yelling at them. and i have tried everything in between. they just dont care to see my point. i tell them that i want to enjoy college, as well as get a good education. they just tell me that "my college experience" won't pay bills later on in life. right now they're just so narrowminded they think that only at mit will there be job security ( they dont think even harvard will)

    @dfree124, i think the letter is idea is a great idea and i havent tried it yet so i think i will :) thank you for the suggestion!

    @born2dance94, i think its more of a cultural thing. i thought my parents were different because all of high school they told me that as long as they tried my best, they dont care where i go and would be proud of me regardless...
    but i guess last year, once i got a perfect on both the math II and chem sat subject tests and did well on the sat, they started caring. a lot. i think they think its a waste to not go to mit because of how i showed "promise' in the science/math fields.

    @xquiksilverx, thats a very good question and the major part is part of it. they really want me to be an engineer (even though i absolutely hate engineering--to each their own) and mit is the best in that department. and i think they're hoping that since most people around me would be engineers, it would pressure me to be one as well.
    i want to major in statistics actually..but mit doesn't even have a statistics department!
    and they just dont get that. i also want to double major in psychology and mit doesn't seem to fit well there either.
    they do approve of what i want to do, but they would much rather i be an engineer. and now that i think of it, that might be the main reason they're upset...because browns engineering can't compare with mit's. and maybe because being an engineer is something that there's still time to change, even though applying to mit is impossible, is the root of the argument? but then how am i supposed to argue with this?
  • xquiksilverxxquiksilverx Posts: 463Registered User Member
    Prove to them that you have good prospective career options. For example, you can show them some of the following links:

    Statistics : What Can I Do With A Major In...
    Career Center | American Statistical Association
    Statisticians (especially the part on earnings where it says the average salary is $92,000 and for a mathematical statistician, $107,000, and job outlook, where it says the employment of statisticians is going to grow by 13% over the next ten years)
  • teachandmomteachandmom Posts: 1,220Registered User Senior Member
    Where did your parents attend college? What career field do they work in? I would just ask them why they did not attend MIT, or become engineers. Then, point out they have had jobs, made money, and lived a pretty good life, even if not always perfect and sometimes stressful. Point out you have learned from them, and will have a nice life. Maybe it won't always be perfect. Maybe once in a while you will be tight on money. But you will live, and be happy, and enjoy life, and have a family someday, etc. etc. Many people make lives out of many different fields. The world can only have so many engineers! You will fill a need in another career field, that's all. If too many kids go into engineering, what do you think the job market is going to look like when they all get out? MIT or not, it will still be tough if there aren't as many jobs.
  • hookdonwdwhookdonwdw Posts: 23Registered User New Member
    DH is a successful MIT graduate. DS applied for schools this year, and had his dad's alma mater on his list. Dad was proud, and DS was okay with it, because he wants to go into engineering. DS has great stats, URM status, Legacy status and Science/Engineering ECs. He was a good candidate for MIT and heavily wooed.

    And then a funny thing happened... ds visited MIT and other Engineering schools he was applying to, and thought about how they fit HIM and his learning style. On a tour of another school, he talked calmly with his dad about how he thought the school better fit to his learning style, comfort level and goals. He was prepared with pros and cons about both schools. It wasn't at a time when they were in the middle of an MIT v. X school moment. And his dad actually looked at him and said "you know, if I had thought it out this clearly, I may have preferred this school to MIT too." DS does have MIT on his radar for grad school, but even though he meets MIT's criteria, at the moment, they don't meet HIS. He dropped his application, and received a phone call asking if he was "sure this is what he really wanted to do", and giving him a chance to reinstate. He declined.

    I think the point is that a school needs to fit the student as well as the student fitting the school. It's not all about the name on the school. It's about whether or not the school matches the candidate.
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Posts: 17,981Super Moderator Senior Member
    It won't hurt you to just apply. Chances are you won't even be accepted.
  • acha2012acha2012 Posts: 123Registered User Junior Member
    @erin's dad
    like i said the deadline was january 1. applying isn't even an option.

    @xquiksilverx
    thank you so much for the data! i really appreciate it and i'll be sure to show my parents that. i love how being a statistician was referred to as a "sexy" job hahah.

    @teachandmom
    my parents went to college outside of the us, so that's why they say they didn't apply. it's almost as if they are trying to live vicariously through me...
    and the most ironic part is that my dad's own parents forced him to go into a job that he absolutely HATES. he's absolutely miserable and he hates his dad because of it.
    so i have no idea why he's trying to do the same to me not only in terms of a major but also for college. and when i try to tell him this, he says "this is different." and if i ask him "how?" he just walks away.
    it's impossible to argue with my parents but they refuse to drop it either. i have no idea what to do :(

    @hookdonwdw
    thanks for the anecdote! i completely agree with you on the fit aspect of college.
    i think mit is one of those schools that you either absolutely love or absolutely hate.
    congrats to DS for meeting MIT's criteria though
  • teachandmomteachandmom Posts: 1,220Registered User Senior Member
    Because of the stage of life you are in, your parents are "reliving" some of their experiences or feelings of that same age. It can be a tumultuous time when our kids first go to school, or hit puberty, go to college, get married, have their own children, etc. Your dad probably is reliving that hurt/anger, but doesn't recognize it, and wants, to a certain extent, to deny that he isn't happy and it is due to his inability to fight his own father. It's complex, and that's why plenty of psychologists and counselors have clients! Give your parents some time, keep showing them that you are focused, and mature, and have goals for your future. By the time your acceptances come in and a decision has to be made, they will come out of their own heads and fears and worries enough to realize this is an exciting and stressful time for YOUR LIFE. We do tend to relive our lives through our kids...trying to correct our mistakes and regrets. But, we do come to realize that our kids have to have their own lives too!
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