Thanks for your concern mom.

Mom Makes Daughter, 18, Send Endless Selfies Proving She is Where She Says She Is: Love or Abuse?

An exchange between an 18-year-old and her mom has gone viral, reports the website Shareably:

Kaelyn is 18, has graduated high school, and is going to be leaving for college shortly. Before she leaves, she decided to have a movie night with long-time friend Stevie.

Kaelyn’s mom is what you might call “protective” and has a policy of requesting selfies from Kaelyn at random times so she can confirm that Kaelyn is where she says she is.

Well, movie night turned into selfie night thanks to Kaelyn’s mom, and the teen posted the text exchange to Twitter. The tweet blew up as people all across the Internet realized maybe they all had the same mom.

If you check out the feed, you’ll see the first text from Kaelyn’s mom says: “Before you lie, where is your car?”

Nice.

Then it shows Kaelyn proving over and over, via selfies, that she is where she says she is, that she’s with who she said she’s with, and that she did not photoshop the friend into a selfie.

Some commenters on the thread have said this mom reminds them of their own. But one pointed out that if the mom were a boyfriend acting that way, she’d be considered a stalker, or worse.

The ability to check in with our kids at almost any time and any age makes it seem kind of normal and even “good parenting” to do so. But the message the kid gets is the one Kaelyn got: “I think it’s safe to say my mom doesn’t trust me.”

It’s fine to ask our kids to check in and be responsible. It seems demoralizing, even destructive, to treat them like felons on parole, always tracked, never trusted. – L

.

Thanks for calling me a liar your concern, mom.

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76 Responses to Mom Makes Daughter, 18, Send Endless Selfies Proving She is Where She Says She Is: Love or Abuse?

  1. Jessica August 3, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

    I knew a parent like this growing up! It was before selfies, but the mom CONSTANTLY assumed that the daughter was lying to her, and that she was out doing drugs, having sex, and drinking. And of course, I knew the daughter, and she was a very responsible, quiet girl, who never caused any trouble. It was really a shame. And to this day, they have a poor relationship, because of the mom’s paranoia and general distrust.

  2. J~ August 3, 2017 at 12:22 pm #

    Her daughter is 18.

    EIGHTEEN.

  3. Susan August 3, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

    She’s leaving for college in two weeks. It’s too late Mom…(and you could have used “Find my iphone” if you wanted to find out where your daughter was without letting her know)

  4. Christopher Byrne August 3, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

    Sorry, it’s abuse. She’s inherently saying that her daughter isn’t trustworthy and/or she can’t trust her daughter. What a horrific way to live. This young woman is now an adult. Perhaps mom can’t deal with that or has her own problems.

    My brothers and I grew up before selfies, obviously, but we still talk to this day how when we went out, my dad would make specific requests of us, and he always ended up with “I trust you.” To this day, we talk about how much that meant to us and how we tried to live up to that trust at much younger ages than this. Did we push boundaries? Of course, we were kids. Did we miss curfew sometimes? Yes. But those times were pretty rare, and we owned up to it.

    This kind of behavior is just an invitation to deceit and mistrust. How damaging to the girl, and what absolutely reprehensible parenting to create an environment in which you raise kids you can’t trust. This mother needs serious therapy.

  5. Coasterfreak August 3, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

    During my youngest son’s senior year of high school he got a very serious girlfriend and they would hang out at her house frequently. We always had him send a single selfie once he got there to prove parents were present. Basically the equivalent of the phone call my parents required if I was ever spending time at my girlfriend’s house.

    Now they’re both 18 and recently went on a week-long road trip with each other. And it’s no longer my concern what they do when they’re together.

  6. Lived this as a kid. August 3, 2017 at 12:37 pm #

    Nothing says good parenting like teaching your teenage daughter that love means constant surveillance and having to prove yourself over and over again.

    I had a mother like this, and it 18 I jumped into an abusive relationship just so that I could get out of her house. Once, my mother went out for the evening and supposedly somehow secretly ‘marked’ my car’s position at the curb. When she came home later she flew into a rage because I had moved the car and therefore must have gone out. The only thing is, I didn’t move the car! I hadn’t gone anywhere… I spent the entire evening in my room reading a book.

    She still wonders why I don’t trust her. And that’s exactly the kind of relationship this woman can expect with her daughter.

  7. Dayna August 3, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    I’d like to show this to my 17-year old Free Range son. He’s endlessly whining about the few times that I do want to check up on him about how much I hover, etc. I simply ask for the common courtesy of one text with what are his general plans and when does he think he’ll be home, and he whines that I don’t trust him. Telling him that I’m far more lenient that many parents gets me nowhere, since his peers apparently have parents that ask zero questions (or so they say).

    Unfortunately, part of this trusting him journey has led to some piss poor choices on his part. Fortunately, no one and no things have gotten hurt/damaged (despite the risk that they very well could have), and he claims to be all the smarter because of it. But as parent, you do constantly ask yourself how do I know what’s right. What boundaries are appropriate and by the time they are 17-18 how manageable is it to even enforce some of those boundaries?

    I’m a free-range parent for sure and have been since the beginning. I have a PhD, own my own business, spoken in front of audiences in the thousands, and survived cancer, yet raising teenagers (17 yo son and 14 yo daughter) is BY FAR the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced (and its not done yet).

  8. Stacey August 3, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

    Does the existence of the technology that enables or allows this behavior, cause this type of thing, or was it always there and this merely facilitates it? Would she have made her stop and call from a pay phone every hour? I doubt it. Which came first?

  9. Colin Summers August 3, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

    There’s actually a story of abuse (Google should be able to show it to you on Reddit somewhere) about this exact scenario but with a boyfriend doing the same thing to his girlfriend. When she goes home to see her mother the boyfriend is sending EXACTLY these selfie requests: “Take a photo with the front porch in the background, holding up two fingers.”

    Absolutely everyone commenting was saying, “He’s abusive, you need to leave him immediately.”

  10. Workshop August 3, 2017 at 1:00 pm #

    If you don’t trust your kids, that’s fine. But then don’t allow them to drive a car and go on movie nights.

    Mom, your daughter is now, legally, an adult. You may still control the purse strings due to automobile/insurance/college funding, but very soon your daughter will rebel, and there will be nothing you can do about it.

    You are hurting your daughter, as well as the future goodwill of your child.

  11. Jenny August 3, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

    One of the things I like about Free Range Kids is that you encourage people not to be so quick to judge whether another parent is doing their job right. This post flies in the face of that advice. Yes, the mom is obviously not free range, but does that mean we should judge her so publicly? Or does that make us as bad as the overprotective parents who judge our parenting style?

  12. James Pollock August 3, 2017 at 1:16 pm #

    “Mom Makes Daughter, 18, Send Endless Selfies Proving She is Where She Says She Is: Love or Abuse?”

    Well, there’s nothing that says it can’t be both.

    But… the answer depends on whether or not there’s a good reason for worrying about someone and believing they might be lying. Is there a history of broken trust?

    If the kid were truly an adult (that is, self-sufficient), she’d be able to say “no” to all this. (I can’t “make” my daughter do anything, because she is self-sufficient). If the parents are still providing for her, well… apparently that comes at a price, and while something like this would have driven me away, apparently Kaelyn either can’t or won’t. (And the same is true if mom were a boyfriend.)

  13. Brooks August 3, 2017 at 1:40 pm #

    I have a friend who is constantly calling her 21 year old daughter. At all hours. 11:00 PM; 1:00 AM. It never ends. I have yelled at her – “STOP CALLING YOUR DAUGHTER.” She is totally deranged over this safety thing. And the truth is it’s 100% about her own fears.

  14. Workshop August 3, 2017 at 1:40 pm #

    Jenny, it is possible to be so open-minded that one’s brains fall out.

    If you happen to think that I am being judgmental in my belief that the mother, in this case, has a sickness, I suppose you are right. Similarly, I judge walking on a tightrope after having consumed seventeen whiskey-and-cokes while trying to juggle chainsaws a bad idea.

    I judge people who spend their paychecks on lottery tickets (and it’s not a nice judgment). I also take a look at identity thieves and judge them.

    It should be noted that in the linked article, “mom” says she kept it up because it was fun making her daughter jump through the hoops. I will judge “mom” as a person I want nothing to do with, and I feel sorry for the daughter.

  15. Dienne August 3, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

    Well, like anyone in an abusive relationship, Kaelyn has a decision to make: is what she’s getting out of the relationship worth the abuse she’s suffering in it? In this case, what she’s getting is a college education. Is she brave enough to risk that by standing up to Mommy Dearest? This may be a make or break point for Kaelyn. Since she hasn’t started college yet, she doesn’t have invested time to lose. This is the time for her to make the decision to be her own person, even if it means she has to figure out college (or not) for herself. Sure, she could try to stick it out through college with the hope that afterwards she’ll be financially independent enough to tell her mother to stuff it, but I think that would just be digging the hole deeper by four years, making it even harder to break free. I feel bad for her – leaving an abusive relationship is never easy. But sometimes it’s what you have to do if you’re ever going to live life on its own terms.

    That said, she should be careful about using some guy to get out of this relationship with her mother lest she end up in the same kind of controlling life with him. She needs to learn to stand on her own two feet as it sounds like she hasn’t had the opportunity so far.

  16. elizabeth August 3, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

    James, abusers are master manipulators. Theyll say things like “i just care” and “remember all the things i did for you” and “you dont love me”. Just because it seems like the girl could just deny the selfies, doesnt mean its true, especially for people used to being manipulated. This is abuse and it ruins a good night. My mom didnt make me send selfies when i went on my first date at fifteen. Heck, i didnt even have a phone. My first school dance, the only reason i had to go home an hour early was my dad worked thirds and he worked that night. This mom just doesnt want to accept that her child is eighteen, not eight. Uff.

  17. Ken Hagler August 3, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

    I expect that because of parents like this (and all the other examples of crazed parents posted here) that younger people are very likely to fall into one of two groups: those who can’t even tie their own shoes, and those who absolutely despise their parents and have nothing further to do with them once they reach adulthood.

  18. HotInLa. August 3, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

    The fact that the mom thought it was funny makes my stomach feel sick. That woman has a problem. All she’s doing is pushing her daughter away. She’ll be sorry one day.

  19. jimc5499 August 3, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

    My mother used to check up on me all of the time until I found a cure for it. I enlisted in the Navy.

  20. Mari Inshaw August 3, 2017 at 3:19 pm #

    I’m guessing there is a history of mistrust. This could be abuse too but my feeling is there is more to this.
    Yes, the daughter is eighteen but I’m guessing she lives with her parents and the “you live under my roof, you follow my rules” rule applies regardless of age, especially if she’s living rent free and having her parents pay for parts of her lifestyle. Nice harsh rules are good for encouraging adult children to move out and not take up residence in your basement.

    I believe adults, those 18+ should be independent, provided they pay for their own crap with their own money. I paid for my college (w/ govt funds & loans), my rent and my car, so my parents could not justify any such crazy demands like the one the mother makes here.

    Love? To quote Tina Turner, what’s love got to do with it? Abuse, well as far as I can tell mom is not Ike Turner.

  21. James Pollock August 3, 2017 at 3:35 pm #

    “James, abusers are master manipulators.”
    OK. And?
    It’s possible that the master manipulator loves their victim, but does not know how to express that love properly. In a perfect world, there would be no abusers. We, however, live in this one.

    “Theyll say things like ‘i just care’ and ‘remember all the things i did for you’ and ‘you dont love me’
    OK. … and the person then decides whether to stay, or to go. If you and I think they should go, but they think they should stay, whose vote counts?
    IF they’ve chosen to stay, they’ve chosen to stay. Maybe they’re codependent. Maybe they’re just dependent. Maybe they’re getting something we aren’t aware of. Maybe they have a plan, and it just hasn’t gotten to the “see ya!” stage. Whatever..

    “Just because it seems like the girl could just deny the selfies, doesnt mean its true, especially for people used to being manipulated.”
    People who want to stay in an abusive relationship want to stay in an abusive relationship.

    People who want to leave an abusive relationship, have to leave ALL aspects of the abusive relationship, including the benefits. If they don’t want to leave the benefits… they’re in that first category.

    My experience, such as it is, suggests that children who are raised by controlling parents get one of two outcomes… the child goes directly to being controlled by the parent to being controlled by someone else, or the child reaches a point of rebellion so severe that they embrace all the things the parent was trying to keep them away from… drinking, drugs, risky sex, risky behavior. This is part of what makes college fun… the young women who are out from under their parents control and who haven’t yet learned self-control. Those were fun times. I was responsible, but that didn’t mean I was averse to spending time with some of the people who were not.

  22. Dean Whinery August 3, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

    That’s not protective. That’s nosy. This young woman is 18, an adult who could choose to enlist in the military…without her mother’s consent.

  23. Michael August 3, 2017 at 3:57 pm #

    I don’t mind being judgemental in this case. I taught high school for thirty years and saw more than a few mothers like this. It doesn’t end well. Usually the children from a situation like this gets to college and goes wild because they have no idea what freedom is. They don’t have the tools to live on their own and go to school. They flunk out and move home to the parent’s delight because they never trusted their kid and are proven correct. They don’t consider that they totally failed as a parent because they did nothing to prepare their child for college or adulthood. The most successful of these young people cut ties with home and learn to live their lives without the damaged part of their family.

    It is not a tradgedy but it is pathetic.

  24. Tim August 3, 2017 at 4:17 pm #

    Hopefully, she will attend college far from home and will refuse to check in constantly with her mother. It must be tough to know that your parent doesn’t trust you as a young adult to engage in normal activities. I hope she realizes her mother has a problem and it is not a reflection on her as a person.

  25. Papilio August 3, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

    Wow. I kinda hope Kaelyn has pulled some major stunts in the past so at least this constant control is justified… I can’t imagine having to live like this without ever having done anything to deserve this.

  26. pentamom August 3, 2017 at 4:51 pm #

    Dayna, just explain that adults who share households and eat meals together give each other the courtesy of keeping one another informed about when they’ll be out and when they’ll be home. It’s not even about a parent-child relationship, it’s about his being considerate.

  27. Backroads August 3, 2017 at 4:59 pm #

    And I remember being one of the legal adults at a summer camp and having the teenagers under me dealing with weekend travel issues of sleeping in their cars or bunking at another teenager counselor’s home–all generally with parents’ okay with doing either.

  28. Meg August 3, 2017 at 5:17 pm #

    At 18, that is ridiculous. I have two kids, 17 and 19. They go where they want. When they want. They are required to show basic courtesy, but the idea of parenting is to:

    RAISE RESPONSIBLE ADULTS

    If you’ve failed to do achieve that by the time the are going off to college, you’ve failed. All the selfies in the world won’t change that.

  29. Donald August 3, 2017 at 5:55 pm #

    I believe Kaelyn’s mom was joking. The pics look fun and not full of resentment. However, I’d advise against any mom to be seriously protective to this extreme.This protection will backfire. The resentment that it will cause will drive her further away. The protective mom will actually ‘chase’ her daughter into the danger that she’s trying to prevent. Even though I think that she was only joking, I like the negative comments against this behaviour. It sends a message to all of the moms that would seriously do something like this.

    I may be naive and Kaelyn’s mom was actually serious and that she only said she was joking because she was embarrassed. It doesn’t matter. I’m still glad the pics went viral and the message went out to many that this is abuse.

  30. Donald August 3, 2017 at 6:02 pm #

    “I had a mother like this, and it 18 I jumped into an abusive relationship just so that I could get out of her house. “

    Exactly my point! I’m sure there are many others that did the same.

  31. David N. Brown August 3, 2017 at 6:06 pm #

    It’s always possible that the daughter has left out some indiscretions or dishonesties in her past. Even so, it looks like Mom’s just rubbing it in.

  32. Beth August 3, 2017 at 6:26 pm #

    The article says that mom “has a policy of requesting selfies from Kaelyn at random times”. A policy. This is more than one night of “fun” photos.

  33. SKL August 3, 2017 at 6:50 pm #

    OK I’m really not sure what to think of this. I started thinking maybe (hopefully) the mom was just being funny, and then she said she was, so … but even if that is true, why doesn’t she leave her daughter alone when she’s with her friends? She has NO right to require an 18yo to do anything.

    Last weekend, my kids had a sleep-over – their first sleepover at a friend’s house, actually. The sleepover mom told me she was going to take them to the weekend fair (“Home Days”), which was very near to my house. My friends and I also decided to go there and check it out and see the fireworks. My friends wanted to go looking for my kids, but I said no! Let them have a little independence with their friends! We didn’t cross paths with them, nor did I have any back and forth texts with them etc. LOL. Granted, it’s different since the other 10yo’s mom was around, but really … it’s important that young people have space to develop their own relationships, and times when they can trust their mom to NOT interfere. Even at 10yo I would never ever behave the way this mom did with her 18yo.

    Beginning at 16yo, I commuted to college in the snow belt. There were nights when I drove home alone in whiteout blizzards. There were no cell phones. My parents trusted me to not only be where I said I was, but also to figure out how to troubleshoot situations without their help. I am sure they were nervous some nights, as I will be when my kids start college at 17. But kids have to grow up.

  34. Dienne August 3, 2017 at 7:00 pm #

    Right, joking. Because whenever I joke with my kids I start off by assuming they’re lying and making them prove otherwise. They think it’s really funny! That Mom! She’s such a kidder!

    /s

  35. SKL August 3, 2017 at 7:48 pm #

    My mom’s mom was pretty controlling. This is going back 6 decades, but my mom says that if she wasn’t home from school within the X minutes her mom said the walk should take, she was whipped, 5 swats for every minute late. This ended when my mom was about to be beaten in front of my dad, and she grabbed the belt and said “never again.”

    My mom got married at 17 to get out of that mess.

    Funny thing, my mom was a prude compared to her own mom. My granny used to climb out the window to meet her boyfriend, until they “had to get married” when she was 18. She could say she was trying to prevent that for her daughter, but apparently it backfired. Like extreme control always does.

  36. elysium August 3, 2017 at 8:27 pm #

    My first thought was that I’d read an article about an abusive partner who required these types of pics. Now poor Kaelyn has the potential to be confused if she dates someone who requires these types of pics – it’s love, right?

  37. hineata August 3, 2017 at 9:38 pm #

    I feel like a sick mother now, spending much if my time trying to get my two young women OUT of the house. They’re generally well-balanced girls; they just don’t socialize outside of their organized things as much as I would like.

    Like Pentamom, I expect ‘Boy’ (nearly 21) to let us know if he’ll be home or not for dinner etc, or if he is leaving town – I think that is common courtesy, and something my flatmates and I always did too (as well as being a general safety thing). Beyond that, it’s none of my business what he gets up to.

    All of the above is just because I can’t fathom this mother. It takes all types, but really, unless the GIRL has had serious mental health issues in the past and/or been suicidal, it does sound like Mum has some issues of her own.

  38. Jon August 3, 2017 at 11:06 pm #

    This is not an example of modern overprotectiveness or helicoptering. It is a case of traditional (for centuries) repression of female independence in which unmarried girls and women aren’t allowed to be out with boys or men. The “child” in this case is an adult woman.

  39. sexhysteria August 4, 2017 at 2:12 am #

    If a father behaved like that, what would people say about him?

  40. James Pollock August 4, 2017 at 2:23 am #

    “The “child” in this case is an adult woman.”

    Assertion without evidence. She may be old enough to be one, but that is no guarantee.

    ===

    “If a father behaved like that, what would people say about him?”

    Pretty much what they’re saying about the mother?

  41. Donald August 4, 2017 at 4:29 am #

    “Funny thing, my mom was a prude compared to her own mom. My granny used to climb out the window to meet her boyfriend, until they “had to get married” when she was 18. She could say she was trying to prevent that for her daughter, but apparently it backfired. Like extreme control always does.”

    This is why your grandmother was so strict. She wanted to protect her daughter from the pain that she went through. The stigma that surrounded an unmarried pregnant woman was 50 times worse back then!

    Unfortunately, however bad you want something or don’t want something is irrelevant. This over the top controlling behaviour will still backfire. This is also a paradox. The more your desperation, the harder time that you have to maintain rational thinking and the worse decisions that you make which makes you even more desperate!

  42. Jenny Islander August 4, 2017 at 4:35 am #

    @James Pollock: Nobody gets to decide whether she is an adult or not. If 18 is the legal age of adulthood in her state, she’s an adult. She has nothing to prove to anyone.

    I hang out at a support group for people who were raised like this. There are two basic reasons for parents to do this to their kids. The first is, “You might be making ME look bad. Don’t make ME look bad. Prove to ME that you are not doing things I don’t like.” The second is, “You are growing up and away from ME, and you aren’t paying enough attention to ME. Respond to ME whenever I want your attention.” Actually there’s a third, but that involves skeezily trying to relive one’s adolescence through one’s children, and I don’t think that applies here. The point is that this is not about anything but the parent wanting to get something out of the adolescent/adult child. If it were safety, how would sending photos make her safe? If it were guidance, how is bugging them while they’re out trying to have fun guiding them? Wouldn’t having a talk beforehand make more sense? It’s about attention and a feeling of being in control.

    The “random times” thing really jumped out at me. Is her mother going to expect her to drop everything to attend to the phone in class–in the library–while studying–during sleep hours? Is her mother going to demand a copy of her class schedule or want to look at her grades (something which FERPA forbids)? And if the daughter says no, what will happen then? Many, many people at the support group have gone through this grinder, although the selfies are a new twist, and it usually ends one of three ways: the parents withdraw financial support and the student drops out and goes home; the student has a breakdown due to the harassment, drops out, and goes home; or the student figures out how to live independently, even if that means losing a chance at college, and completely cuts contact with the parents for years or forever.

  43. James Pollock August 4, 2017 at 6:29 am #

    “Nobody gets to decide whether she is an adult or not.”
    Not sure if serious?

    SHE gets to decide she is an adult, by being one (or not). If you put on your big boy (or girl) pants and make your own decisions (including foregoing things offered by people who want to control you), then pow! Adulthood. If you choose to let people control you, then pow! Not adulthood.
    And literally anyone may make a judgment about whether or not any specific person is,an adult, at any time, and they may freely change their mind at any time, as well. Grow up!

    “If 18 is the legal age of adulthood in her state, she’s an adult.”
    This one CAN’T BE serious. There is no “legal age of adulthood”. Rather, there are a series of issues where the question is “are you adult enough?” Some of those go into the low teens, and some (well, at least one) as high as 35.

    Some people are adults at 15 or 16. Some are still not adults well into their third decade of life.

  44. katie August 4, 2017 at 7:33 am #

    At least the mom is better than the crazy SUV driving moms who stalk their kids in their SUVs. Still this is bad though. I do feel her pain. I’m currently traveling with my mom who is a helicopter grandma. Her level of concern includes my kids touching shoes (except when they are on their feet), touching the toilet (except when they are using it) and crawling under a table (which was nothing sharp underneath) because they might stand up and bump their head. This is going to be a long trip.

  45. katie August 4, 2017 at 7:39 am #

    I hate to say this, but I do agree with James on the adulthood issue. We should not baby her either. If she really wants freedom she should step up and forgo things the mom is giving her such as a car. She could just take public transportation, walk, or cycle. She could even get a job and get her own place until she goes to college. Even though I don’t agree with her moms rules, I do think when an adult lives in their parents house at the parents expense they have to play by the parents rules.

  46. Dienne August 4, 2017 at 8:34 am #

    What exactly is your issue with SUVs, Katie? Did something happen to you in one? I think you might need to seek therapy around this issue – you keep bringing it up.

  47. BMS August 4, 2017 at 8:51 am #

    Good lord. I have no words.

    This girl is going to move so far from home someday you’ll need a transatlantic flight to see her.

  48. James August 4, 2017 at 9:30 am #

    “Yes, the mom is obviously not free range, but does that mean we should judge her so publicly? Or does that make us as bad as the overprotective parents who judge our parenting style?”

    First, let me say that I agree with you that there’s a tendency on this website to be just as judgmental about other parenting styles as helicopter parents are about Free Range Kids parenting styles. I get where you’re coming from.

    That said, I do not think that’s the case here. The mother was making repeated and unreasonable demands of her child in a way that would be described as abusive in ANY other relationship. I mean, imagine if your spouse did this to you, or your boss! It doesn’t become non-abusive when it’s a parent doing it to a(n adult) child.

    The problem with this behavior is that 1) it’s completely unreasonable, as in no rational person would demand it; 2) it’s wildly intrusive, and 3) it demonstrates a desire to control the other person. This has nothing to do with a lack of trust; this sort of behavior is all about making others jump through hoops so that they know you’re in charge. This may not be what the mother is consciously doing, but that’s the effect this sort of behavior has on a relationship.

    I get the notion of parents worrying about their kids, but there are reasonable ways to handle this sort of thing. Demanding random selfies under absurd conditions to demonstrate that they aren’t photoshopped isn’t one of them.

  49. SKL August 4, 2017 at 9:55 am #

    Of course she is an adult.

    A parent has no legal right to require an 18yo to do anything.

    This is true whether the 18yo is an “old soul” or an immature idiot.

    However, in this case we don’t have to take the girl’s word for it. The text history is right there for all to see.

    So what if the 18yo has made dumb decisions in the past. Who hasn’t? 18 is still legal independence.

    This situation reminds me of the 19yo (?) adult who was in a bind because her extremely controlling parents had never gotten her birth certificate / SSN, so she was at a loss to get a driver’s license or go to college or do anything on her own. Her parents refused to cooperate because they wanted to continue to control her, to make sure she walked the ultra-conservative straight and narrow forever I guess. It’s outrageous.

    I mention this because it occurs to me that maybe, the girl made this text exchange public so she could have proof of what is going on at home, which may be preventing her from doing the things adults have a right to do. A sort of SOS.

  50. Crazy Cat Lady August 4, 2017 at 10:41 am #

    It is POSSIBLE that there are things that have happened that make the mother not trust her daughter. Maybe she has been in trouble with the law, and mom is supposed to know her where about at all times. Maybe in the past the girl has been depressed, suicidal or such and the mother wants to know she is safe.

    It is also possible that the mother was a wild child and doesn’t want her daughter to act the same way, which as evidenced in posts previous to mine, that doesn’t work well.

    My daughter was dating a guy in the same grade and school. The did a project together, won a competition and were able to go to the national competition. They had time to improve their project, but, being teens they waited until right before the deadline. They were at my house working on it, and I checked in every so often. I don’t normally let the door be closed, but younger brother was being an ass and not letting them get the work done. They went over time that the boy said he would be home, he told me he let her know.

    Only…he messaged my daughter when he got home around 9:30 that he was in trouble for being out so late. His mother didn’t get his texts. I sent her a message and apologized – we have horrible cell reception and he didn’t realize that he couldn’t text her. Mom replied that he had been making bad decisions lately and this was the last straw. Not sure what his bad decisions were, he is practically strait A’s, National Honor Society, several other things, Key Club or such, and generally seems a little overloaded. Overall….a really good kid when seen from my side. But…I guess I don’t know everything. I did feel bad though, I now tell every kid that if they need to contact home they need to use the landline.

  51. James Pollock August 4, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

    “Of course she is an adult.”
    Doesn’t look that way from here.

    “A parent has no legal right to require an 18yo to do anything. This is true whether the 18yo is an ‘old soul’ or an immature idiot.”
    Sounds like you’re trying to conflate two different things into the same thing. Or are you trying to say that the mother’s actions are illegal?

    “18 is still legal independence.”
    Except it isn’t. If you are 18 and want to be legally independent, the state will take your side. (They will sometimes take the side of 16 and 17 year olds, and sometimes even younger, but it’s not automatic) But most 18-year-olds are NOT independent, and a rather substantial number of legal regulations reflect that reality. My dad was legally required to pay child support while I was in college. You might want to look up the tax-law definition of “dependent”, as well.
    “If you want to live under my roof, you live by my rules”. (Most) children under 18 don’t get a choice. (Most) children over 18 do. Which has nothing, whatsoever, to do with whether or not someone is an adult.

    IF she IS an adult, then she’s fully free to decide for herself whether to live at home and submit to this. She made her choice.

  52. Claudia August 4, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

    God, it’s not like kids develop an automatic lying reflex the moment they turn 13! Usually if teenagers lie it’s because their parents have given them reason to feel that they can’t actually be open with them, not because they somehow can’t help it. If your teenagers seem happy, healthy and doing are OK at school, then you probably have no reason to be worried about what they’re doing when you’re not hovering over them!

  53. James August 4, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

    “Maybe she has been in trouble with the law, and mom is supposed to know her where about at all times….”

    Not good enough, by a long shot.

    I routinely do work that involves borrowing certain equipment from folks on a jobsite. Said equipment is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense, and at any time the folks I’m borrowing it from can be audited with regard to that equipment, as part of their safety audit program. If I need to borrow it, I leave a note saying “I’ve got the equipment, will bring it back on Friday.” My coworker shows the DoD this note, problem goes away. If he can’t, we both go to jail, for a very long time.

    What this mother is doing is orders of magnitude above and beyond that. That’s not being overprotective; that’s outright insane.

    “It is POSSIBLE that there are things that have happened that make the mother not trust her daughter.”

    It’s not the distrust that is the problem here. Lots of parents don’t trust their children, and some even have good reasons to not trust them. The issue at hand is the behavior. There are all kinds of ways to handle distrust–you can distance yourself from the person (seen it with parent/child relationships; it’s harsh, but it happens), you can revoke help (including car payments, room & board, etc), you can kick the person out of your home, you can have an honest and open discussion about the issues, etc. What this mother is doing is emotional abuse and flagrant manipulation boardering on gas lighting. She’s telling her child that EVERY decision her child makes is suspect, that only by constant groveling can the child hope to rise to the level of not deserving punishment. The mother’s default setting is “My daughter deserves to be punished”–it’s only via constant proof that the mother is held at bay!

    I have seen couples divorce for far, FAR less. For that matter, I’ve heard of women getting away with killing their husbands for far less (the judges accepted that the woman was simply trying to escape the situation and was in fact acting in self defense). This behavior is intolerable in ANY relationship.

  54. James August 4, 2017 at 1:41 pm #

    “Even though I don’t agree with her moms rules, I do think when an adult lives in their parents house at the parents expense they have to play by the parents rules.”

    Re-read the article and in place of “daughter” and “mother” put “wife” and “husband”, respectively.

    Do you still agree with the conclusion? Should a wife–who relies on her husband for most of her income–endure this sort of controlling and manipulative behavior? Or would you say “That man has serious issues that need to be addressed”?

  55. James Pollock August 4, 2017 at 2:50 pm #

    “That’s not being overprotective; that’s outright insane. ”
    “What this mother is doing is emotional abuse and flagrant manipulation boardering on gas lighting. She’s telling her child that EVERY decision her child makes is suspect, that only by constant groveling can the child hope to rise to the level of not deserving punishment.”

    That’s a pretty strong diagnosis based off a single incident, incomplete at that. Are you looking for a job in CPS?

    “Re-read the article and in place of “daughter” and “mother” put “wife” and “husband”, respectively.
    Do you still agree with the conclusion? Should a wife–who relies on her husband for most of her income–endure this sort of controlling and manipulative behavior?”
    Who made the choice to become dependent–and remain dependent–on her husband? (I’m leaving your sexism in place, since of course it is impossible for wives to abuse husbands, and we’ll also leave your unspoken assumption that all abusive domestic relationships are heterosexual. And the less said about your apparent belief that a parental relationship is equivalent to a romantic one, the better.)

    Parents have responsibility for the well-being of their children, and that responsibility does not magically end at 18, or if the parent has done a sub-par job so far, either. While it’s just lovely that you are allowed to borrow DoD equipment with just a note, it doesn’t seem to have much to do with the problem at hand.
    It’s possible that this mother is thoroughly and completely unhinged. It’s possible that events to which you and I are not privy, her actions are entirely reasonable. Making a guess as to which is true? Nothing wrong with that. Proceeding to state our guess as if it were confirmed fact? Not so much.

  56. lollipoplover August 4, 2017 at 3:27 pm #

    “At least the mom is better than the crazy SUV driving moms who stalk their kids in their SUVs.”

    ???

    Reading a whole lotta craycray on here today and i’m not even sure how to respond.

    The saddest part of this is the daughter saying, “I think it’s safe to say my mom doesn’t trust me.”
    As a parent, i’m trying to raise responsible, thoughtful, and independent kids that I trust. That’s a pretty big cornerstone to parenting.

    Cyber stalking adult children is something to talk over with a therapist. Seriously. It is more about control than love. I know many parents that “follow” all of their kids social media and need to monitor everything. I know this has to do with trust and perhaps one day the will learn to trust them and back off of the constant monitoring. If they don’t know how to do this, it’s something they need to take up with a mental health professional. And also those with SUV fixations….

    Because healthy, loving relationships are NOT about control.

  57. SKL August 4, 2017 at 3:51 pm #

    We have one troll that tries to make everything about cars. She cracks me up actually.

    Then one who tries to make everything about sex. Eyeroll.

    And then there is the one who just has to argue against everything, no matter what it is, no matter how far the arguments stray from the point of the original article, to the point where nobody even knows what the discussion is about any more.

    OK so 18 is not an adult. If you say so. I have things to do.

  58. Michelle August 4, 2017 at 5:42 pm #

    @Stacey: “Does the existence of the technology that enables or allows this behavior, cause this type of thing, or was it always there and this merely facilitates it? Would she have made her stop and call from a pay phone every hour? I doubt it. Which came first?”

    When I was a young teenager, I was babysitting and the mom had a copy of Cosmo lying around, so I started reading through it. (I was probably a little young for Cosmo, but oh well.) Anyway, I vividly remember an article written by a woman who, when she was a teenager and she would come home from a night out, her mother would demand to inspect her underwear to find out whether she’d been “turned on.” I was reading this in the mid-90s, and the author was talking about something from years earlier. Crazy has always been around; it just adapts to the times.

    @Dayna: “What boundaries are appropriate and by the time they are 17-18 how manageable is it to even enforce some of those boundaries?”

    One of the problems I have experienced as my Free Range teens turn into adults, is that they expected to suddenly have a lot more freedom when they turned 18, just like their friends — but they pretty much already had all the freedom there is to have. The only things I expect from them at that point are, like Pentamom said, basic courtesies that any adult would expect from another adult who lives with them. Helping with housework, being respectful of others in the house (not hogging the TV, being quiet at night), keeping me apprised of when they will be home or out, and covering their own basic expenses. My oldest daughter seriously rebelled against those expectations, especially housework, because “chores are for children.” (Said as I am cleaning without her.) Sorry. If you want to live in my house, you don’t get to treat me like a maid service, doesn’t matter how old you are. In the end she moved out, and now if she doesn’t clean up it doesn’t affect me.

  59. Michelle August 4, 2017 at 5:45 pm #

    @SKL: “Cyber stalking adult children is something to talk over with a therapist. Seriously. It is more about control than love. I know many parents that “follow” all of their kids social media and need to monitor everything. ”

    I don’t even get that. I friended my kids on Facebook, and then unfollowed them pretty much right away. All they post are stupid memes that clog up my newsfeed. If there’s something they want me to see, they can tag me. LOL.

  60. Jenny Islander August 5, 2017 at 3:17 am #

    James Pollock, I stopped respecting you when you said that you get to decide whether somebody who is an adult in the eyes of the law is really an adult or not.

    You do not get to decide that. You do not get to dispense adulthood as a privilege. And if you are treating the young adults in your life as if you get to decide whether they are adults or still children, they are sooner or later going to remove you from their lives. Because you are overstepping your bounds. You. Not them.

    And I am done with you.

  61. lollipoplover August 5, 2017 at 2:12 pm #

    @Michelle- I drove a car full of 14 year-old girls to an outdoor adventure/ waterpark place this week and met up with another mom that also drove up part of this group. I work from home, so I did some work in the morning and was hoping to get a lounge chair in the shade to return some emails on my phone and possibly take a nap. Maybe get a root beer float… Seriously, these girls don’t want/need me following them around.

    The other mom was the polar opposite. She followed the girls, took many pictures to give her daughter to post (and she was on facebook all day posting stuff). When she came back to the lounge chairs where I was happily enjoying my ice cream, she talked nonstop of the social media posts of all these girls as she follows them all and is very into what everyone of these kids does/where they go/who they hang out with…all under the pretense that she needs to constantly monitor her daughter’s interactions to keep her safe from creepers. I told her my daughter thinks such behavior IS the creeper and I’d sooner just take the phone away over obsessing over her communications.

  62. JTW August 5, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

    @Stacy “Does the existence of the technology that enables or allows this behavior, cause this type of thing, or was it always there and this merely facilitates it? Would she have made her stop and call from a pay phone every hour? I doubt it. Which came first?”

    The parents that do things like this are the ones that refused to allow their children to go anywhere on their own before, insisted on dropping them off and picking them up again at exact time and place always, and only to visit vetted friends.

    Though at 18, this is an extreme case. The girl is old enough to drive a car, to vote, to go to college and live on her own, in most countries she’d be old enough to drink, hold a full time job with extensive responsibilities.
    With parents like this though, she’s likely not mentally capable to cope with most of any of that responsibly.

    And governments respond to such developments by trying to raise the age at which young people are considered adults…

  63. Donald August 5, 2017 at 6:31 pm #

    There are many times when I greatly disagree with James P. Then there are other times that I strongly agree with him. A lot of helicopter parenting is about ‘Me’ as James pointed out.

    “You might be making ME look bad. Don’t make ME look bad. Prove to ME that you are not doing things I don’t like.” The second is, “You are growing up and away from ME, and you aren’t paying enough attention to ME. Respond to ME whenever I want your attention.”

    I’d like to add that some helicopter parents revolve their lives around the child, otherwise they believe that their peers will look down at them. This is why they fill the child’s schedule with soccer, violin, and Mandarin lessons. They spend their lives driving them everywhere and spend (until it hurts and then some) to get them into the best private school.

  64. Donald August 5, 2017 at 6:44 pm #

    “My oldest daughter seriously rebelled against those expectations, especially housework, because “chores are for children.”

    This is funny. However, it’s not funny because it’s so common that it’s more like an old joke. Many teens feel, “I’M AN ADULT #@%&^!!* AND I WANT TO BE TREATED LIKE ONE! However, I only want the fun parts and when it’s convenient for me.”

  65. James Pollock August 6, 2017 at 12:40 am #

    “A lot of helicopter parenting is about ‘Me’ as James pointed out.”

    This isn’t something I’d say, and the text you quoted following it isn’t mine.

    I don’t think there’s just one kind of helicopter parent, and their helicoptery behavior has many different sources. Some helicopterism comes from a person’s own upbringing… if they were raised that way, that might be how they tend to do it themselves. Conversely, some helicopters come from the other end of the spectrum… they were raised without any structure, and felt a lack, and thus are determined to raise their kids NOT like their parents did.

    It’s almost like people are all different, and trying to lump them all together is a mistake, or something.

    “Many teens feel, ‘I’M AN ADULT #@%&^!!* AND I WANT TO BE TREATED LIKE ONE! However, I only want the fun parts and when it’s convenient for me.’”
    And it’s when they feel “I want all the parts of being an adult, not just the fun parts” that they are. Nobody (certainly not the state) can MAKE you into an adult. You have to do it yourself.

    It’s not like this is new. The Beatles recorded “She’s Leaving Home” 50 years ago.

  66. Andrew August 6, 2017 at 3:30 am #

    “Before you lie…” Wow. Is that meant to be a joke? If you expect the other person is lying, why even ask the question?

    Parents: you do not own your children, you have a relationship with them. They are people not possessions. What would you think if someone treated *you* like that?

  67. Art August 6, 2017 at 8:50 am #

    sorry for the threadjack but excellent article about the negative effects of cell phones and social development.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/

  68. James August 7, 2017 at 1:03 pm #

    @Jenny Islander:

    Loath as I am to support James Pollock, I do think he’s not entirely wrong here. He is approaching the question of adulthood from a SOCIAL perspective, while you are doing so from a LEGAL perspective. These are not the same, and haven’t been since….well, forever, far as I can tell.

    I would not treat an 18 year old still in high school, or a 21 year old who’s in college, the same way I would treat an 18 year old in the military, or a 21 year old who had a wife, kids, and full-time job. Legally they are adults–both can be drafted, sit on juries, vote, etc. But socially the ones in school are in a different place. I don’t want to say they’re kids, but they aren’t adults either. We have different expectations of them than we do of adults. It chaifs most of them, but that’s the reality.

    My point isn’t that James P. is right; rather, my point is, you’re both coming at this question from a different angle.

  69. James Pollock August 7, 2017 at 3:34 pm #

    “My point isn’t that James P. is right;”

    It gets easier if you practice.

    Now, my claim, simple enough, is that age has nothing to do with adulthood, and there’s a secondary claim that the state can’t confer adulthood on someone. The juvenile view of adulthood is that it is about privileges. The adult view of adulthood is that it is about responsibility. Looking at adulthood from not-yet-adulthood, adulthood is when you get to smoke, and drink, and screw, (and whatever else it is that one is presently not old enough for) To sum it up in a 3=minute musical interlude, it’s “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by the Beach Boys. But the truth is, we let adults smoke and drink and screw (and whatever else) NOT because they’ve passed a magic birthday, but because age is a “good enough” proxy for the responsibility we’re looking for in an adult, because adults are responsible for the results of those choices.

    One possible way of looking at that is to get all indignant that I don’t consider some people who are over 18 to be adults yet. (I suppose this might be touchy if you had a history of people denying your agency, but, and this is important, THIS has nothing to do with THAT.) But take a look at it “backwards”, and you see that I’m ALSO saying that there are people who are under 18 who are already adults.

    Combine that with the fact that there’s no single point at which “adulthood” is conferred. Want to drive a car? Fine, if you can reach the pedals and see over the dashboard, you’re adult enough for that. Oh, wait, you meant drive on the public roadways? That’s a little bit more complicated… you have to pass a test on rules of the road, and we’re going to impose an age limit. And even then, my state has a “graduated” driving license…15 is old enough to get a learner’s permit, which lets you drive with a licensed driver in the car. 16 gets you a limited license, which has a bunch of restrictions on it. Not until you’re 18 do you get unlimited driving privileges, and there’s still conditions attached even after your 18th birthday (registration and insurance.) You say you want to RENT a car? And you’re male, and under 25? Don’t even bother walking into one of the major agencies… they won’t rent to you. Too many people of your age and gender weren’t responsible enough with the company’s cars.
    Ah, you say, but 18 is the magic age. Well, it is for a lot of things You get to vote (some restrictions apply) and form contracts (some restrictions apply, and people under 18 can form contracts, too, and what do you mean “it’s complicated?!?”) To sum it up, try telling the bartender that you’re 18 now, and therefore an adult, and you’d like an adult beverage please. When I was 18, the federal drinking age was 18. Now it isn’t. The 26th amendment set the voting age in the United States to 18… it had been 21 in most states. That amendment became effective in 1971.
    Ah, OK. 21 is the magic age. You can smoke and drink in all 50 states when you’re 21. Except… nope. In SOME states, being 21 years of age means you’re adult enough to decide for yourself if you want to smoke marijuana. In SOME states, it isn’t. Well, then, when ARE you adult enough to decide to smoke marijuana. Never, says the Attorney General of the United States. I’ll decide that for you, and I say “no”.
    Well, then, you say, that’s all messed up. I’ll go into politics and fix the law. I’m 21, and when I get elected to the Senate… Nope. 21-year-olds can get ELECTED to the Senate, but they cannot SERVE in the Senate. Article I, Section 3 says you aren’t adult enough to be a Senator unless you’re at least 30.

    So, a claim of “if you’re 18, you’re an adult, and that’s the LAW!” fails rather spectacularly. If you’re talking about applying for a driving license, entering a contract for wireless phone service, or voting, then the state considers you an “adult”. But if it’s a question of drinking, or serving in the Senate or Presidency, you definitely are legally NOT adult enough for that yet And if the question is smoking, it depends on what you want to smoke, and what state you’re in at the time whether or not you’re legally adult enough to make that choice. (And besides all that, the states reserves to itself the ability to tell person who are over 18 that they are not adults, and assign them a guardian, a special advocate, or a conservator, depending on the type of proceeding, to make the adult decisions for them. Want to learn more about that and need a high-profile case to learn from? Look up “Tom Benson” and throw in search terms like “competence” or “conservator”. He is a VERY wealthy fellow, owner of a couple of professional sports teams, whose children tried to get the state to declare him no longer adult enough to manage his own businesses/money.)

  70. aebhel August 7, 2017 at 6:22 pm #

    @James Pollock, 18 is the age of majority in the United States. That’s not something that people are just pulling out of thin air, and you’re being weirdly resistant to it. Whether or not someone happens to meet your personal idiosyncratic definition of ‘adult’ based on how they structure their interpersonal relationships is, uh, extremely irrelevant to the actual situation at hand. “She’s not an adult because she’s being immature” is your personal assessment, and has nothing to do with something like conservatorship or the minimum age to be considered eligible to serve as President.

    The point people are making is that she is an adult in the sense that she has the actual right to just ignore her mother, and if she does there’s not a damn thing the mother can do about it, legally speaking. She can inflict all sorts of other consequences if she wants to, up to and including kicking the young lady out of her home and refusing to pay for college unless she agrees to exist in a kind of extended adolescence until Mommy’s insecurities are satisfied, but she can’t actually call the police and have them drag her home the way she could if the person in question was a juvenile.

    The other point people are making is that this is a really good way to (a) make sure your kids are utterly unprepared to function outside of the home and (b) completely tank your relationship with them in the long term. Of course Mom has a legal right to set whatever conditions she wants on paying for college/living space/etc., but that doesn’t mean that doing so is healthy or reasonable. The parents I know who actually want their kids to move out and become independent just start charging rent, they don’t pay weird mind games with them. This is the behavior of a parent who isn’t ready to cut the apron strings, and IME these are the people who burn out spectacularly in college because they were utterly unprepared to function as adults.

  71. James Pollock August 7, 2017 at 7:43 pm #

    “18 is the age of majority in the United States. That’s not something that people are just pulling out of thin air, and you’re being weirdly resistant to it.”

    18 is the age of majority in the United States, except where it’s 21. Duh. How many times have I written this?

    “She’s not an adult because she’s being immature” is your personal assessment.

    Again, duh. Although I’m kind of backed on this one by the language, since “immature” means “not adult”. If someone is being not adult, they are not adult. QED. Thanks for playing.

    “The point people are making is that she is an adult in the sense that she has the actual right to just ignore her mother”
    If you’ll climb down off your high horse for just a moment, and scroll upwards, you’ll discover that, well, *I* am one of the people making this point. I went beyond, and noted that she chose NOT to “just ignore her mother”… for reasons that are entirely her own business, and none of mine (or yours).

    “if she does there’s not a damn thing the mother can do about it, legally speaking.”
    Flatly incorrect, and, frankly, a bit stupid. You must agree, because you began retreating from it for the rest of the paragraph and parts of the next one. If daughter rebels, mother may respond by cutting off support. Because daughter is an adult. Adults can form contracts. “You live in my house, you follow my rules” is (or, at least, can be) a contract. Daughter has chosen to stay. Perhaps the free ride is worth the hassle. Perhaps she just hasn’t lined up her alternative yet. Maybe the whole thing is being misunderstood by both of us, and there isn’t even a conflict here. It just isn’t a problem I need to solve.
    You’re like several days behind me and complaining that I’m “weirdly resistant”. Catch up, K?

    “The other point people are making is that this is a really good way to (a) make sure your kids are utterly unprepared to function outside of the home and (b) completely tank your relationship with them in the long term.”

    (a) duh and (b) duh. Had you paid attention, you’d have noticed that I am one of the people making those points, as well. These are literally points I touched on in my FIRST COMMENTS, 4 DAYS AGO.

    “IME these are the people who burn out spectacularly in college because they were utterly unprepared to function as adults.”
    Seriously. Read my comment from 3:35 of August 3. Just the last paragraph should be enough.

  72. Buffy August 8, 2017 at 5:55 am #

    Annnnnddddd…..the thread is jacked. Success for James once again.

  73. Adam August 8, 2017 at 11:08 am #

    At eighteen, I had signed myself up for the Marines, gone through boot camp at Parris Island, and then sent to my first duty station in Florida that was literally one thousand miles from my mother. I wasn’t the only one to do this at 18 either.

    I truly hope, and I have to believe, people like this mother are in the minority. Yet, somehow, they’ve dominated the conversations – much like our politics actually.

  74. James Pollock August 8, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

    “Annnnnddddd…..the thread is jacked. Success for James once again.”

    This gets to stay up, but responses are censored away?.

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  76. Jp Merzetti August 11, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    Moms like this used to be money in the bank for standup comics.
    Giggle-fits are the only correct response.
    Silicon Valley startup opportunity: Super-spy service to spy on parents who spy on their kids.
    That’s not love. That’s tyranny.