Dr. Wallace: I was invited by my friend to go with her and her family to London for 10 days, but my parents wouldn’t let me go because they didn’t know this family very well. They’re a good family, and I’ve been friends with their daughter for the past four months since we met each other at our high school basketball game earlier this year.
The flight isn’t scheduled until mid-August, so I still have plenty of time. The father in this family is American by birth, and the mother was born in England, so this is a homecoming trip. We will mostly stay at her relatives’ homes in England. It sounds so much fun, and now I really want to go! I am very upset that my parents closed me to this. I only have about a month to convince my parents. Is there anything I can do? Hoping to travel to London by email
Hoping to Travel to London: You haven’t mentioned your age, but since you met this girl at a high school basketball game, you’re both obviously teenagers, probably between 16 and 18.
As a first step, you will need a passport, so you should start this process immediately, just in case. The next step will be to visit this girl and her parents at her house and see if they can invite your parents to dinner or at least visit the family home to get to know them better. There is no guarantee that even after this meeting your parents will change their minds, but at least at this point, your chance of getting a positive answer may increase dramatically.
Usually, most parents make their decisions driven by their intuition and comfort level. Meeting your friend’s parents can help with their comfort level, but their intuition is still an obstacle that you may or may not be able to overcome at this time.
No matter how that happens, if you are still good friends with this girl, it is likely that she will visit England again at some point due to her mother’s ties to that nation. Once you turn 18, you will be able to make your own travel decisions and also have a good history of a longer friendship together.
Dr. Wallace: My mom wouldn’t let my friends go upstairs to my bedroom because she says all of our bedrooms are there and this was a lot of our family’s precious possessions in stock.
I find this unusual, and in fact I was never allowed into the bedrooms when I visited my friends in their homes. Is my mother acting normally here?
It is true that my parents have some valuables in their room, which is next door to mine, but my room doesn’t really contain anything of great monetary value. Is my mom just saying this to stop me from bringing friends into my room for some reason? – Very puzzled by this, via email
This is very confusing: not knowing your family or your parents in particular, it is difficult to determine their causes for sure, but you have identified the two most likely possibilities. Either they are really worried about the expensive items they keep in their room, or they don’t want you to take friends upstairs to your room out of their sight.
You haven’t mentioned your age, but if you’re a younger teen, this may not be as uncommon as you might first think. Also, if your parents don’t know some of your friends very well, this could be another factor. The more they know about your friends, the more likely they are to do a little slack and allow you to spend time with your friends unsupervised, at least for short periods of time.
Accept their rules for the time being and do your best to earn their trust, I think your parents might loosen the rules as you get older.