DEAR AMY: I'm a 19-year-old college student. My parents still try to control me. When I'm home, they tell me when to go to bed and when to get up.
They will tell me to delete something on my Facebook page if they find it offensive. They say if I don't delete it, I won't get into grad school or get a job. I'm aware of the consequences of Facebook postings. I know that when I apply for anything, my Facebook profile will be reviewed.
If I refuse to comply with my parents' demand, they threaten to take away my car, computer and other items. They say they'll withdraw my tuition for college and force me to go to community college, where I will not get an education toward the career I want.
Recently, my parents confronted me for posting a video of myself with my hair not brushed perfectly, and for writing something sarcastic about Christmas (I'm an atheist, and my parents are Jewish).
I "unfriended" my father on Facebook.
They then threatened to take away my computer (half of which I paid for) and withdraw my tuition for next semester.
My parents care about me, but their care is keeping me from being independent.
DEAR SMOTHERED: You could start taking baby steps into adulthood by calling your folks' bluff.
If they don't like what you post on Facebook and want to take your computer away, then hand it over and use one at the public library. If they want to withdraw their financial support and force you to drop out of school, tell them that you'll accept their consequence and find an hourly wage job and a room to rent.
Your parents use their financial support as leverage.
I suspect that your education and success in life are so important to them that they will continue to support your desire to stay in college, but forcing the issue will prompt a conversation.
Unless you've given them a reason to question your judgment in terms of what you post online, their choice to monitor your activities is overkill — when they do this, they are killing your ability to discern.
DEAR AMY: I have a beautiful adult daughter who has gained at least 20 pounds since being with her boyfriend of four years.
He is built like a twig, and he can (and does) eat anything and everything (except healthy stuff). Our household eats healthy and has an active lifestyle.
It is clear that her food choices now more closely follow his than the ones she was brought up with.
It saddens me to be around her now at meal times and at the movies, when they buy popcorn, candy and soft drinks.
I've said some hurtful things in the past about her weight, but now I keep quiet.
How do I help her see how unhealthy her diet is now (she knows diabetes runs in the family) without being a food Nazi?
And how do I handle my own feelings about her unhealthy choices?
— Worried Mom
DEAR MOM: If you've said hurtful things to your daughter about her weight, then those statements are rattling around in her brain. She may be overeating around you in an unconscious effort to retaliate.
Tell your daughter that you worry about her because of the family's history of diabetes. Then tell her that you will not interfere with her choices or comment on her weight in the future.
Letting your daughter make her own choices requires discipline on your part. Tell yourself you're on a no-interference diet, and stick to it.
DEAR AMY: "Giftless" wrote to you with a question about people who ask for specific gifts and gift receipts.
A few years ago my sister-in-law gave me a list for gifts for herself, my brother and their children, which I followed to the "T."
The day after Christmas, my brother showed up at my door asking for all the receipts so they could return my gifts.
Now they only get gift cards.
— Been There
DEAR BEEN THERE: These post-Christmas gift demand stories really warm the heart. Thank you.
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