Dear Carol

"Dear Carol, My parents are trying to control my future"

Dear Carol,

My mom just told me that my dad would be controlling my entire future. She said he’s meeting with my teachers to choose my clubs and electives. He wants me to do math and science—but I’m into books and musicals. They want to decide what I do, which includes me dropping everything I love. I don’t want to live like this. I’m a good student, but it’s not enough: They want me to be the best at everything. Is there anything I can do? Talking to them will never work.

- Father Troubles

Dear Father Troubles,

This is difficult. Is there someone at your school who can advocate for you? A teacher, counselor, director? In a family, it should never be You vs. Them. Even if your parents wanted to, they can’t control your life—it doesn’t work that way. Congratulations on being a good student, and keep shining in math and science, but I agree: You shouldn’t have to search for electives that don’t appeal to you at all. Can you be respectful and reasonable as you tell your parents that you want to audition for the musical or chorus or write for the school paper? Use “I” statements, not “you” statements. For instance, don’t say, “You aren’t the boss of me!” Try, “I appreciate all you do for me, but when you expect me to be the best in everything, I end up feeling like I’m failing all of us.” These years will go faster than you think, and soon you’ll be in college where you can be more in charge of forging your own path.

Carol Weston is the author of 16 books including Speed of Life (about a girl who writes to an advice columnist). More at and on Instagram @carolwestonnyc.

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by GL | 11/30/2023