In one of the stranger stories of the week, a college student sued her parents for stalking and won a protection order against them.
According to a CNN television report on Saturday, 21-year-old Aubrey Ireland of Kansas City, Mo., took her parents, David and Julie Ireland, to court for controlling her life so excessively that it amounted to stalking. After hearing the evidence, a judge in Cincinnati agreed.
Aubrey, a senior studying music theater at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music, told the court her parents tried to excessively control her by travelling to her college unannounced, accusing her of promiscuity and even installing tracking software on her laptop and cellphone.
Despite being deeply embarrassed at her parents' allegedly following her around campus and asking them to stop, Aubrey told the court they wouldn’t stop. She told ABC News that her parents felt because they were paying for her tuition, they had the right to control her. She said most times she felt like a dog with a collar on.
Defense attorney Joey Jackson told CNN that though her parents are paying for her education, one doesn’t have anything to do with the other, for Aubrey is legally an adult and therefore her parents do not have the legal right to dictate her life.
Parents Julie and David reportedly told the court they were simply looking out for their daughter so that “she didn’t ruin her changes at success with risky behavior.” Her father also said he was worried about her mental health because mental illness runs in the family, with some members having even committed suicide.
Aubrey is an only child, and her mom said Aubrey had been catered to all her life because they only want the best for her.
I don’t know why her parents are so worried about their daughter. Looking at her many accomplishments, it appears that Aubrey knew what she was doing since she was a young girl. Or did they push and micromanage her into those many activities?
According to Omaha.com, Aubrey had made a reputation for herself in her hometown, which her mom has bragged about on the local Greenbrier website. Mom was so proud of her daughter having a role in the summer production of “Evita” that she posted the following announcement on July 4, 2011: “Hello neighbor! One of Greenbrier’s own, my daughter Aubrey, is on stage this summer at Crown Center.”
In 2009, when she was at Blue Valley North High School, Aubrey was one of 10 girls chosen out of 700 to attend the freshman class of musical theater at the University of Cincinnati, which has one of the top music programs in the nation.
After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Aubrey reportedly helped collect musical instruments for a Mississippi school heavily affected by the mega storm and even travelled back and forth three times to personally deliver over $15,000 worth of instruments. She was rewarded for her good work when she was recognized as one of the top youth volunteers in her town and given the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards in 2009.
Aubrey reportedly started playing music at the tender age of two and a half, learning to play several musical instruments along the way. She was known as a triple threat in her town for she could sing, dance and act. As she got older, Aubrey didn’t stop at music but played several sports as well, including basketball, softball and soccer.
Though dad David said he was worried about Aubrey’s mental health, daughter accused the parents of the ones having codependency issues. By the website announcement above, Mom sure looked like she was a “helicopter parent” who just didn’t know when to ease up the control and cut the reversed umbilical cord.
Psychologist and emotional-dynamics expert Erik Fischer, speaking to CNN on Saturday, said that sometimes parents can exhibit tendencies of being too attached to their children and not knowing when to let go. That emotional overbearing attachment can lead to the kind of behavior Aubrey has accused her parents of.
But let’s say for argument sake Aubrey is partying up a storm in college and neglecting her music. She is 21 years old, and as hard as it is for us parents to see, what may look like our children jeopardizing their chances for a bright, successful future, we cannot micromanage our adult children “straight.” They may make painful mistakes and hopefully learn a valuable lesson from it.
Now, paying for an expensive education while their child parties away, that is another story. Stalking them is clearly not the answer, but cutting off the “gravy train” just might do the trick. Let them pay for the partying away of four years.
In Aubrey’s case, her parents reportedly now want her to repay them the tuition fees. I would say they had a point, but they were the ones who wanted to pay for her education despite their daughter reportedly getting several offers of scholarships. Maybe that was the ultimate control for them? Pay so she would be indebted to them?
The entire story is a convoluted, disturbing, sad tale.