ONTD Political

Aubrey Ireland, College Student, Wins Restraining Order Against Helicopter Parents

10:54 am - 12/29/2012

Sometimes parents just don't know when to let go, but it's rare when a judge needs to intervene.

That was the case for Aubrey Ireland, a 21-year-old music theater major at College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. She convinced a judge to grant her a restraining order against her parents, David and Julie Ireland.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Ireland told the court that despite making the dean's list, her parents would routinely drive 600 miles from Kansas to Ohio to make unannounced visits to her at school. Then they accused her of illegal drug use, promiscuity and mental illness.

Her parents allegedly became so overbearing that they installed keylogging software on her computer and cell phone to keep track of her every move.

She told the court, "I was a dog with a collar on.”

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the school hired security guards to keep them out of their daughter's performances in school productions. When she cut off all contact with them, her parents responded by stopping payment on tuition checks.

Both the school and the court have sided with Aubrey. The University of Cincinnati gave her a full scholarship for her senior year, and the judge issued a civil stalking order against her parents, ordering them to stay at least 500 feet away from her and have no contact with her until September 2013.

Helicopter parents are nothing new. They ignore boundaries or simply embarrass their adult children once they've left for college -- or worse -- in the workplace. Few cases are so extreme as Ireland's.

In June 2012, researchers at the College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University conducted a study of 340 students and found that many simply grow accustomed to parents' constant involvement. Nearly seven out of 10 students said it was "somewhat" or "very appropriate" to receive help from their parents in writing a resume or a cover letter. One-fifth of students thought it was fine to have their parents contact a prospective employer.

Source has video.

Good on the school for covering her final year of classes.
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sunktheglow 29th-Dec-2012 03:59 pm (UTC)
Shit like this makes me happy that my dad is a deadbeat, wow.
miriamele 30th-Dec-2012 04:22 pm (UTC)
Damn, me too. Geeze.
hwoosh 29th-Dec-2012 04:00 pm (UTC)
One-fifth of students thought it was fine to have their parents contact a prospective employer.

Reallyyyy??? I for one would get really embarassed
chaya 29th-Dec-2012 04:04 pm (UTC)
Ifkr? I heard of students whose parents would call up professors and interrogate them about their kid's bad grades. I would be mortified.

(I don't think the resume help is so odd, though? I at least have a parent who has hired and interviewed several people and thus knows what a good resume looks like... is it weird to ask for a second opinion?)
mycenaes 29th-Dec-2012 04:07 pm (UTC)
If my parents were much more tech-savvy and teensy bit more neurotic (no, really)...yeah, I could have seen this happening to me during college. Jesus.
blackpuddle 29th-Dec-2012 04:10 pm (UTC)
One of my friends linked me another article about this girl on facebook. It went into more detail about the stuff her parents put her though. I don't remember that one saying that her school was going to cover her last year of classes though. I'm glad to see that. In the other one her parents say she's just acting for attention with all this and I really feel for her since mine pulled the same thing when I left.

Here's the other article if anyone's interested. http://abcnews.go.com/US/student-wins-stalking-order-overly-involved-parents/story?id=18080707
tigerdreams 29th-Dec-2012 09:33 pm (UTC)
I hate the way that article ends:

"What do you do when a person is 21 and you're still concerned about the well being of your child? If your child has a mental health problem you are still responsible for that child, even though they are 21 years old or 25 years old."

The last paragraph of an article about stalker-parents who watch their daughter sleep at night over Skype should not take the parents' side and imply that the daughter has mental health problems. :\

Thanks for posting, though; the rest of the article has a lot of useful information about the kind of crap the parents were pulling.
spyral_path 29th-Dec-2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
If she didn't want her parents involved with her life, she could have moved out and stopped taking their money when she turned 18, but that would have meant racking up debt to get through school, just like all the rest of us whose parents couldn't afford to stalk us even if they wanted to. Yes I'm bitter, and this is an extreme case and her parents are clearly bonkers, but I've heard one too many complaints from adult children about their parents not recognizing their independence while still expecting their parents to pay all of the bills.
sunktheglow 29th-Dec-2012 04:26 pm (UTC)
It doesn't seem like she didn't want her parents involved with her life, it seems like she didn't want to have to leave Skype on all night so that her mother could watch her sleep...

Edited at 2012-12-29 04:27 pm (UTC)
oceandezignz 29th-Dec-2012 04:39 pm (UTC)
That's because you use logic

But I have had parents call my office after their kids have applied and auditioned for a seasonal job (I work for a theme park art company), not make the cut and just lose it because precious Johnny is an amazing artist and we are stifling him by not hiring him and making him manager material on the spot!

I facepalm at this everytime.
mycenaes 29th-Dec-2012 04:34 pm (UTC)
No, I feel that--I've had my mom look over cover letters for me, and it does help. But honestly, I prefer to try to forge my own way, since my own parents are kind of...creepily over-invested in my life.
redstar826 29th-Dec-2012 04:48 pm (UTC)
I'm going into teaching and I currently work in schools. The stories I've heard about parents calling the school over every little thing are just bananas. Like, my parents probably called the school less than a dozen times combined for both me and brother, and that was usually over pretty serious shit like bulling or asking about homework during a long illness.
skellington1 29th-Dec-2012 10:07 pm (UTC)
Heck, I had multiple intense surgeries with long recovery times, and my folks' didn't call the school for homework when I was in highschool (they did when I was in middle school, age 13).
quixotic_coffee 29th-Dec-2012 04:51 pm (UTC)
'Nearly seven out of 10 students said it was "somewhat" or "very appropriate" to receive help from their parents in writing a resume or a cover letter.'

Am I the only one not taking this to mean proofreading? Because I do find it kind of weird for college students to be receiving help from a parent *writing* a resume or cover letter.
martyfan 29th-Dec-2012 05:41 pm (UTC)
None of my high school or college classes ever even touched on teaching how to write a resume. Why is it weird to get help from someone who's written one before and can tell you how to structure it?
shishmish 29th-Dec-2012 05:13 pm (UTC)
But why, why would you put your own child through so much shit.

I always thought helicopter parents were those who defended you and did all sorts of stuff for you whilst at University (i.e. writing and calling your HoD if you failed an exam/essay) and were a hell of a nuisance, I didn't realise it also meant you're basically telling the child you're shit and have no right to a life of your own...

edit: Also I should learn not to read the comments - so many of them are pissing me off especially the ones saying the parents had the right to do all of this stuff because they were paying for it all. My Dad helped me pay for food/drink/rent during a course I did, did he demand to know what I was doing 24/7? Nope, not a all.

Edited at 2012-12-29 05:34 pm (UTC)
ntensity 29th-Dec-2012 05:40 pm (UTC)
Yea, I didn't think this qualified as helicopter parents either. Especially after reading other comments/links to other articles. These parents just seem to be nuts!
tamingheadfauna 29th-Dec-2012 06:00 pm (UTC)
I am so glad for Ms. Ireland. I am so glad both the school and the local authorities listened to her, believed her, and backed her up. It makes me smile when something like this works out for the better.


Here's the thing: She had evidence. She had a preponderance of evidence and enough to meet the burden of proof not only at the school, but in a court of law. Generally speaking, neither a school nor a law body is exactly quick to grant scholarships or restraining orders, respectively, and against a parent/guardian when there is a dispute between them and a child.

What is happening with Ms. Ireland and this case moves beyond the "concern-trolling" parent and/or the loving place of "I want my kid to succeed and I want my kid to be happy." Ms. Ireland is not stomping her feet with some sort of entitled demands because she doesn't want to cut the proverbial apron strings or doesn't want to "grow up". Quite the contrary. Look at Ms. Ireland's actions. Re-read the paragraph above.


I will admit to bias here. I pursued similar against my parents when I was 19 and in college for the first time. I had documentation. I had witnesses. I had authorities who were backing me up. I could prove a long and sordid history of bad faith.

My petition was also granted, but only "reluctantly" so. Again, largely because higher education authorities and law enforcement are reluctant to legally sever the ties between parent/guardian and child.

However, just because I have bias, it doesn't negate anything I've mentioned.
romp 29th-Dec-2012 08:09 pm (UTC)
No, your experience just means you know more about this. I somehow made it to BEING a parent without even being aware this was a thing. I think it helps that most people I know can't afford to do all this sort of thing. But they're also good, thinking parents.

I went to college though and didn't hear of anything like this. Maybe it's a demographic? Are these parents convinced by other aspects of their lives that women can't control their own lives. I've seen 3 stories like this now (2 in comments) and it's always with daughters...
strixluna 29th-Dec-2012 06:03 pm (UTC)
Ugh! That was triggery as shit to read. I'm far, FAR above college age but my husband's mother is severely mentally ill and she has tried to pull this kind of stuff on us (stalked us, threatened us, tried to take the children away, all that lovely stuff). It's bad enough to deal with when we have each other and are in our 30's, I can't imagine how rough it would be to have to deal with such behavior when you're 21 and not yet through college. I feel for this poor girl.
intrikate88 29th-Dec-2012 06:11 pm (UTC)
Ugh. Creepy and scary. I'm so glad her school provided her with a scholarship, because damn, there is no end to the strings that can be attached to money. And all the allegations they made to keep her under their control? Terrifying.
alexvdl 29th-Dec-2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
AND they provided security guards to keep them out of her productions. That's some stand up shit by University of Cincinnati.

And the Bearcats stomped Duke in the Belk Bowl.
kaizopp 29th-Dec-2012 06:41 pm (UTC)
Wtf is wrong with people in the comments? Triggery victim-blaming shit, yay.
mskye 29th-Dec-2012 07:39 pm (UTC)
Many people, either due to privilege or denial, can't fathom the idea of abusive parents. The mentality is that "real" abuse is a rare thing and that most kids are spoiled brats who cry wolf. Combine this with the religious/societal idea that offspring must honor their parents no matter what, and you have a recipe for some victim blaming bullshit.

Oh yeah, and the money thing. Nothing's more important than money. Some people would argue that a parent has the right to dip his nuts in his child's mouth until the child turns 18 and gets a job.
mskye 29th-Dec-2012 07:22 pm (UTC)
Hahaha! Maybe a year away from their daughter will teach them a lesson. If not, then good riddance~! XD
aviv_b 29th-Dec-2012 07:24 pm (UTC)
My parents were of the 'if we're paying, we're saying,' persuasion. My parents weren't as extreme as Ms. Ireland's but it was pretty intolerable. Got a scholarship for a second tier grad school and chose that over being dependent on my parents for several more years. My brother cut off contact with my them for a number of years.

Unfortunately, my mother forgets that she's not running the show, and on occasion, she reverts to type. She called from my brother a few weeks ago giving him shit about who he's dating. He rightfully hung up on her. Oh and I should mention - she'll be 85 in a few weeks, he's almost 60, LOL.

Yeah, she's old and sick so I generally ignore her nonsense. It's sad, but my parents have missed out on a lot of our lives due to their need to control everything and everyone. Their loss.

Edited at 2012-12-29 07:25 pm (UTC)
sfrlz 29th-Dec-2012 07:39 pm (UTC)
"It's sad, but my parents have missed out on a lot of our lives due to their need to control everything and everyone. Their loss."

This is one of the first things I thought when I read this. It's pretty sad that parents who obviously want a close relationship with their daughter completely fucked that up by being so controlling.
baka_tenshi 29th-Dec-2012 08:38 pm (UTC)
sadly, i have a feeling that if my mother didn't send me to jail - this would have happened instead.

she actually tried to blackmail me into signing some papers that'll legally take away my dad's parental rights of my (special needs) brother to her second husband by making me choose between my brother and my education (since she thinks that she's providing me with education money - the reality was: she wasn't giving me a fucking dime).

granted, my father has a lot of his sucks as well but jesus.

(edited to make it clearer)

Edited at 2012-12-29 08:39 pm (UTC)
romp 29th-Dec-2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
Are you still in touch? Hard not to run far and fast, I suspect, but I also see people struggle because we have a cultural ideal about parents and if they can't accept you... I hope things are going better.
free_spoons CSB:29th-Dec-2012 09:25 pm (UTC)
One of my best friend teaching graduate level classes at the University of Baltimore and she is so happy that she actually isn't allowed to discuss her students with parents.

Because she's told horror stories of parents trying to contact her. Some are a parent doing the kid's job of asking for extensions or help with a certain topics. She did mention once that sometimes she does get a student apology when the student learns that their parent contacted her without the student knowing about it.
teacup_werewolf 29th-Dec-2012 09:26 pm (UTC)
Sweet Thor.

Ungh, this strikes some personal notes with me. My personal nightmare is my mom flipping her shit one day and get legal guardianship of me and either shoving me in a group home or giving me to my dad. My dad was nuts, unstable and mildly abusive and I am so glad I am out of that home. My mom and my dad have been rather controlling and invasive but for different reasons. I am on the spectrum so they assume I am too naive or immature to make rational choices for myself and thus they use to question every decision I make. So much so that I have issue with seeking permission for shit despite being an adult. It took me years to make choices based on what I need and what I desired without feeling guilt for making choices.

If I did make a bad choice and they found out they seem to guilt or shame me for it and it drove me nuts.

Thank god Ms. Ireland got the help she needed and she is free from her mom and dad.
lanwut THIS JUST HITS A BIT CLOSE TO HOME FOR ME29th-Dec-2012 11:39 pm (UTC)
What in the everloving fuck are like half these fucking comments?

Good to know that because my dad gave me my first car he's allowed to be as much of an abusive asshole as he wants! How about the fucking part where he acts like he's a fucking saint because he's going to pay for my school but GET THIS PART HAHAHA HE'S REQUIRED TO BY COURT ORDER.

So according to some of you he's totally entitled to hold that all above my head and pretend he's number one dad of the fucking year material because he gave me a car and is forced to pay for my schooling? Cool fucking beans.
bestdaywelived Re: THIS JUST HITS A BIT CLOSE TO HOME FOR ME30th-Dec-2012 03:11 am (UTC)
Some of us grew up in homes with abuse and without money. For someone like you, who has been given things that a lot of us could only dream of, you can't see our side. For me, money would solve a lot of problems, and I I would easily put up with my parents if they helped me out financially. Obviously, YMMV.

Instead, they abused and try to control me without any benefits.
glass_houses 30th-Dec-2012 12:12 am (UTC)
One-fifth of students thought it was fine to have their parents contact a prospective employer.

Um, NO. Because of mental illness I have needed more help in the past from my parents in some regard (my mom works for the same employer I do and when my then-boss did something heinous she went to HR with me and helped cream them) but no way in hell would I think letting her or my dad call a potential employer? WTF, on what planet?
lickbrains 30th-Dec-2012 12:24 am (UTC)
Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh. I'm sorta in the same boat, except my mother and her stupid-ass boyfriend are more sneaky about it 'cause he's a private investigator so they could be following me from behind and I won't know it or creeping around my internet shit. Neither understand the concept of "personal space" jfc -_-

I hope they see this article (and my comment; you creepy creeps) because they're hair-thin shy away from doing shit like this.
backinblack 30th-Dec-2012 10:26 am (UTC)
oh dear GOD I hope you can seek (free) and successful legal action against them without the situation escalating. In a dream world, I know, but that's so awful. :( /hugs
lady_borg 30th-Dec-2012 12:32 am (UTC)
As much as my father didn't cross the lines these parents did this hits so close to home with bs he pulled. I am glad for her she got out.

I cannot understand why money is the issue here, just because her parents paid for things doesn't mean they get to control her. That was my dads belief as well. He purposely didn't charge me board so he could use the argument that he puts a roof over my head...I would have been glad to pay if it meant a bit of freedom...but I know that it wouldn't have changed anything. I know it's not the same but explaining it all would take too long, I just understand a little of that feeling and fuck the people wo say that this shit is ok because money.
bestdaywelived 30th-Dec-2012 03:14 am (UTC)
My parents tried to force my sister and I to pay them rent for our keep when we were in high school. She and I talked about it, and we told our parents that we would pay the rent ... but as tenants, we wouldn't be doing all the chores in the trailer anymore, because we'd be their clients.

At the time, we were being forced to do ALL the chores in the house except for the laundry (and only because my mother was insistent upon the fact that we would "ruin" her machine), including providing all the care for our younger sister, who was a baby.
gretchystretchy 30th-Dec-2012 01:44 am (UTC)
Ugh of course her parents live in fucking Johnson County.
bestdaywelived 30th-Dec-2012 01:44 am (UTC)
My parents never helped me with money (far from it - they claimed me on their taxes, making it impossible for me to get a waiver to prove independence), and they were also overbearing assholes. They didn't get quite this bad, though, yikes.
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