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I'm not sure how to fix my situation. How much power does my mom have?

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  • I'm not sure how to fix my situation. How much power does my mom have?

    I'm always uncomfortable or nervous at home so I spend a lot of my time at after school activities or at my part time job. My mother puts me on edge. I get yelled at and cursed out for things completely out of my control, like dropping something or having to go to the bathroom at night. I also get frustrated with her and how she talks to me so sometimes I'll talk back, but that always ends up with me backing. I'm not afraid of her physically, I don't think she would ever use physical violence to control me, but I am afraid of her control over me. I know if I do the wrong thing she won't let me go to the school I want to go to next year. (I know it's a privilege to get a higher education but I've been working really hard myself to afford it because I won't be receiving any aid from my parents) Last night, after a fight about the dishes, she said that I need to quit my job. She's threatened this before as punishment, but I think she might be serious this time. She always used school as an excuse to force me to quit, saying that I haven't been focusing on my schoolwork, but now that midterm grades are in and I have all As, she doesn't know how to justify it. Now she's just making anything up. I need to keep this job to finance going to college next year. Being at home takes up so much of my energy, I don't feel safe here unless my mom is away. It makes schoolwork, social life, and work difficult. I've been depressed and anxious since coming back home 7 months ago.

    That was a whole lot of rant but what I'm asking advice on: If I refuse to quit my job, can my mother legally force me to study at a college she wants me to go to? Can she legally force me to quit my job? I am a 17 year old Missouri resident and I won't be 18 until 1 month after I graduate high school and after I've enrolled in college.

  • #2
    Hello there -

    Thanks for reaching out and sharing that with us! It sounds like you have been working hard to accomplish your goals in very difficult circumstances. It takes a lot of work to get all “A’s” in school, great job! It must be frustrating your mom is trying to control all of your decisions even though you are trying your best to be independent.

    We are not legal experts by any means, but your mom does have the legal right to make certain decisions for you since you are still a minor. We mainly know general laws as it pertains to youth that runaway or leave home without permission. So which she does have certain power over you when it comes to what you do, we aren’t sure how that translates to keeping a job. You might want to have a talk with your employer or the U.S. Department of Labor (866.487.2365) about your mother’s threats to make you quit your job by force. Or alternatively purposely try to get you fired by showing up causing trouble, making you show up late for your shifts, harassing other employees, etc. So those are things that you want to keep in mind and you know her best as to what her actions might be.

    Once you turn 18 you can make your own decisions and choose where you go to school. Since it sounds like you are paying your own way through school you could enroll in the college of your choice and withdraw from any school your mom forces you into after you turn 18. As an adult you are under no legal obligation to go anywhere that you chose not to, which includes college or universities.

    If you want to talk more about your situation or want to explore other options, please call or chat us at 1-800-786-2929 or
    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
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