Charlotte Hannah
December 28, 2012

Student Granted Restraining Order Against Her Overbearing Parents


Photo credit: Aubrey Ireland, Facebook

Everybody knows someone who has or had overbearing, so-called “helicopter parents.” This type of parent constantly hovers over their children, unreasonably restricting their freedom, demanding to know their whereabouts at all times, and keeping an uncomfortably close eye on their private activities.

Of course, most people are able to escape the (usually well-meaning but misguided) clutches of their helicopter parents when they move out on their own. Sure, the children of helicopter parents might experience a few incidences of prying or unnecessary involvement in their lives even after they’ve left the nest, but most parents take at least a few steps back once their kids can legally vote, drink and fend for themselves.

Such was not the case for University of Cincinnati student Aubrey Ireland.

According Ireland’s court claim for a restraining order against her parents, when the 21-year-old began her college career, her parents began paying unexpected visits to her college campus. Ireland’s parents dropped by unannounced several times — and trekked over 600 miles from Kansas to do so. It only got weirder from there.

According to RadarOnline, Ireland claimed in court that her parents told her department head she had mental issues, and began accusing her of being promiscuous and a drug user. Ireland is on the dean’s list, and there’s currently no evidence her parents’ claims are true.

“They basically thought that they were paying for my college tuition and living expenses that they could tell me what to do who to hang out with… basically control all of my daily life. My mom has always been very overly involved. I would have to get on Skype all the time to show them that I was in my dorm room, or there were nights I had to leave my Skype on all night and my mom would watch me basically sleep,” said Ireland in a statement.

Ireland also claimed her parents went as far as to install keylogging software on her phone and computer so they could keep tabs on their adult daughter’s activities. Which, if true, is super gross.

Ireland and her father.
Photo credit: Aubrey Ireland, Facebook

A judge recently granted Ireland the restraining order she sought against her parents, which forbids being within 500 feet of her until next September. Ireland’s parents maintain their daughter is psychologically ill and needs treatment.

You may have noticed in Ireland’s statement above that her parents were paying her college tuition — which, in my opinion, gives them a certain amount of leverage in her life. For example, it would be quite reasonable for them to expect her to keep her grades up, or to not drink excessively. In fact, most demands they could’ve made on their daughter would be reasonable conditions of funding her tuition and living expenses — if they’d been agreed upon before she went off to college.

The problem here isn’t that Ireland’s parents wanted to keep an eye on their daughter, whose life they were paying for. The problem is, if Ireland’s assertions are true, they did so in a creepy, deranged way. If they didn’t like their daughter’s real or perceived lifestyle, they should’ve pulled their financial support, not stalked her. It’s their money, and they can do with it as they wish. But it’s her life, and monitoring her Internet usage and text conversations is just wrong.

If Ireland’s claims aren’t true, however, the situation becomes more complicated than just a case of helicopter parents and a daughter who probably shouldn’t have accepted money from them in the first place. Unfortunately, since both sides are adamant that the other is lying, there seems to be no way to tell for sure.