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Stressed out by controlling parents - Please help!


Replies to: Stressed out by controlling parents - Please help!

  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 8,218 Senior Member
    I don't feel controlled by my kids when I pay for their education.
  • GoForthGoForth Registered User Posts: 536 Member
    edited July 17
    @oldfort in post #5. That is the first thing that popped into my mind after reading post #1 - the chicken gambit.
  • jupiter98jupiter98 Registered User Posts: 266 Junior Member
    Your situation sounds insane on many levels. Your parents sure understand that you will not become professional pianist if you do not pursue piano as a major. Nobody becomes a professional taking private piano lessons. Can you explain what their train of thought is?
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 8,218 Senior Member
    edited July 17
    Actually there are talented musicians who do not major in music and go on to have careers in music. But at this stage of the game it has to be their passion, not the parents' and if parents are overly invested many lose the love of playing.
  • jupiter98jupiter98 Registered User Posts: 266 Junior Member
    Not classical piano, @compmom. Maybe voice.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 8,218 Senior Member
    Yes classical piano.
  • jmek15jmek15 Registered User Posts: 654 Member
    OP do you know if they are taking out loans to fund your tuition that they expect you to repay? Are you an only child? If not, are your parents as controlling with your siblings?

    I agree with previous posts that mental health counseling is a must - your situation is extreme (extremely unhealthy, extremely stressful, extremely controlling, etc.), but perhaps manageable to some extent if you want to stay at the 'dream school'. There are far worse jobs to have in college, but the emotional abuse and tuition blackmail makes me think they are very angry about the situation. If you had attended the cheaper college near home could you have dropped the piano and focused on CS? In other words, would it be the same pressure wherever you attended school as long as they are paying?

    To me, this is not a sustainable state of affairs, and clearly this level of pressure will continue after graduation. A counselor can help you think through your options. Your situation is difficult but you sound smart and resilient- best of luck.
  • powercropperpowercropper Registered User Posts: 1,410 Senior Member
    @Aloha927 I am sad to hear of your situation. I hope that reading so many parents' posts telling you this is not normal gives you some comfort.

    Think long term, and start preparing now for a life without your parents after college graduation. Start saving every dollar you can, and see if you can get paying music gigs. Would your parents let you switch a live skype practice session for a paying job? And if so, would they let you keep the money you earn?

    At graduation, you need to already have a job lined up in a different part of the country, or even around the world. Get a passport now, to give you options. When you are at home, see if you can gather all your important paper documents, Birth certificate, social security card, immunization records. You want to be ready to cut ties, or at least have options to live independently from your parents.

    It could be that after a short time of cutting ties, your parents could warm up to the idea of not trying to control your life. It might be possible to go to family counseling and work on setting appropriate boundaries.

    But you need to set Indeoendence as your goal. This goal will keep you sane over the next three years.

    Your college career center can help you look towards the future.

    Best of luck to you.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 62,899 Senior Member
    jmek15 wrote:
    To me, this is not a sustainable state of affairs, and clearly this level of pressure will continue after graduation.

    Once the OP graduates and gets a job, the parents will no longer have financial leverage over him/her, so the power relationship is reversed. The OP can quit piano, and the parents cannot do anything about it. Of course, the almost-inevitable result is that s/he and the parents will become estranged, but that seems to be the case already.
  • jmek15jmek15 Registered User Posts: 654 Member
    @UCBalumnus, my comment is based on the OP's original post, which stated "they want me to pursue piano professionally." I read "professionally" as after graduation. This is why I wondered if the parents are taking out loans to pay for her education - if so, they may still try to hold @Aloha927 hostage financially after graduation. Family guilt is a very powerful thing. Plus, after reading through the posts, I don't see the parents as taking a step back just because she has a diploma in hand, even if she can pay potential loans from a CS job (again, I have no idea if there are any loans!!). The parents may feel so strongly that when financial leverage is gone they give her the choice of pursuing piano or (as you mentioned) becoming emotionally estranged. Fact is, none of us really know the full situation or how far the parents would go to push their own agenda. @powercropper offered excellent advice on how to prepare for this scenario, but it's heartbreaking. Sending @Aloha927 a big hug!!

  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 2,639 Senior Member
    I have to seriously wonder whether "expensive private college X" is worth all of this. A "dream school" can turn into a nightmare school very quickly.

    Unfortunately is it probably too late to transfer in time for September classes, but I have to wonder whether transferring to an less expensive alternative might be the right thing to do.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 62,899 Senior Member
    jmek15 wrote:
    The parents may feel so strongly that when financial leverage is gone they give her the choice of pursuing piano or (as you mentioned) becoming emotionally estranged.

    It seems like emotional estrangement is already a foregone conclusion in this situation.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 8,218 Senior Member
    edited July 17
    I think that planning for estrangement/independence and thinking about transferring are extreme measures. Again, I would try to deal with this head on, now. With the help of a third party.

    One approach might be for someone to back up the idea that their tactics are perfect for making someone hate the piano, that their strategy is psychologically misguided, and that the best way to encourage piano is to step back and let their child take a break, find inner motivation and choose to play.

    A freshman psychology student could tell them this! Motivation needs to transfer from external (parents) to internal (self). And forcing it only destroys the latter. There has to be an element of enjoyment.

    The irony is that most parents would love their child to switch from music to CS. I understand the investment in talent, for many years, but holding on to those dreams of fame and success means that the piano is for them, not for the child. That is the real problem: living through one's kid is never ever healthy.

    Let's be realistic: it can take a lifetime to gain detachment from the flaws of our parents, in many cases. And attachment continues even in situations of actual abuse. I think it is a lot to ask of this young person, to anticipate a break in the relationship, but that may be necessary ultimately.

    Still, getting some help so the parents can try to negotiate the transition to adult autonomy for their child would be a first step, and if that fails, then other things may need to happen.
  • Aloha927Aloha927 Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    edited July 17
    Thank you everyone for all the advice - it makes me so happy that this community is so supportive! I really appreciate it.

    Unfortunately, I think my parents would still have the same views on piano even if I had attended a cheaper college - aside from financial reasons, the main reason they wanted me to attend the school near home is so that they could monitor me and my piano playing more closely. The only way would be to pay for college myself, but that would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, and would estrange me from my parents.

    @jmek15 Thanks for the support! Yeah I'm an only child. My parents haven't taken out any loans, so I guess financially, I'm free to do whatever I want after I graduate. I'm pretty sure they would cut me off emotionally if I were to quit piano after graduation though, which is something I really want to try to avoid if possible.

    @powercropper Thanks for the advice. Yeah I'll definitely make sure that I have a job lined up after graduation - I definitely want to be financially independent after I graduate and although I don't want to have to cut ties with my parents, I guess it's important to have that available as a last resort. My parents are against me having a job during term time. I think they'd be supportive of me getting a paid internship during the summer though, as long as I have enough time for piano and can take lessons from my teacher, so I'll look into that.

    @compmom Yeah, I personally think that getting the help of a third party would be helpful too. Unfortunately, I don't think my parents would ever agree to that though - bringing this up would most likely make them more angry, since I think they'd interpret it as me questioning their method of parenting.
    Post edited by vonlost on
  • runswimyogarunswimyoga Registered User Posts: 919 Member
    If things get really bad and you need a last ditch effort, you can always develop tendinitis in a finger or two; the only way to heal that is through rest... ;)
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