Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Boundaries and control freaks...

Yesterday, I read an interesting post on RfM written by a 19 year old guy who had just purchased a new computer with his own money.  He spent $1300 on a high end machine, which arrived at his home while he was out.  When he got home, he discovered that his father had already opened the package, which annoyed him.  As he used the computer, he realized it was running slow and overheated a lot.  Then he discovered that his father had, unbeknownst to him, installed WebWatcher on his brand new machine.

Most of the people on RfM, myself included, were horrified at the invasion of privacy and lack of boundaries this father had for his son's property.  There was one poster, however, who saw it a different way.  This man said that in his own house, he would make his stepson install and pay for the software himself or move out.  He repeated that age old mantra, "My house, my rules".  He also wrote that if his stepson locks his door, he will remove the door from its hinges.  He explained that his own kids had to abide by the same rules.

I get that.  I understand that if you're paying the bills in your home, you have the right to set the rules.  On the other hand, taking your adult child's property and altering it without their knowledge and consent is a serious breach of boundaries.  Not surprisingly, a lot of people were advising the guy to move out as soon as possible.  It could be that is what the parent's ultimate goal was.  Maybe he does just want the kid to leave.  I think if it were me and I was worried about my adult kid accessing certain Web sites, I'd do something at the hub level, not break into the kid's computer and install software without permission.

The poster who was on the parents' side apparently thinks that young adult kids who live at their parents' home have no rights, especially to privacy.  And maybe, if you're paying the bills and you're a bully, you see it that way.  But I don't think it makes for a very promising or positive future relationship.  Perhaps the parents involved in this situation don't care about that, though.  Some parents don't.  If I were the guy in the original post or the stepson of the bully RfM poster, I'd be saving my money to get out as soon as humanly possible.  I've been where they are and it's not fun.

A serious lack of boundaries seems to abound in a lot of communities, particularly those that are very conservative.  In the Salt Lake Tribune yesterday was an article about an Orem, Utah mom who was shopping with her 18 year old son at a mall and happened to pass a display at a PacSun store.  The mother noticed the t-shirts on display and determined that they were "indecent".  She asked a store manager about taking down the display.  The manager refused.  So the mom bought all the t-shirts, spending $567.  She says she plans to return the shirts near the end of the store's 60 day return period.

First off, this is just plain dumb and I hope PacSun refuses to take the shirts back.  Secondly, I feel sorry for that woman's son, who was probably really embarrassed by this scene his mother made.  And thirdly, what the hell right does she have to determine what is and what isn't indecent for the rest of the people shopping at the mall?  We are in a free society, aren't we?  So why does this mom feel that she needs to police what PacSun sells in its stores?  Seems to me it's very simple… you don't like a product, don't buy it.  You don't get to force everyone else to live by your moral code.  On the other hand, based on her picture in the Tribune, mom looks a little frustrated.

It must be so exhausting to feel like you have to control what other adults do.  I'm glad I don't have that urge.  


  1. Utah County/Utah Valley makes SLC seem cosmopolitan by comparison.

  2. I doubt I'll have the opportunity to find out for myself.


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