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Can my parents get away with this?

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  • Can my parents get away with this?

    Hi, so I'm pretty new to these sort of forums, but I have nowhere else to go. So I bought a laptop about half a year ago. I got a job, saved up, and spent $1.6k on it. The day it came in, my mother took it and my phone because "my grades werent good enough". I got it back about 2 months later, and then had my laptop taken AGAIN. They look for literally every excuse to remove electronics from my life, and it has begun to hinder my school experience, ie being unable to type assignments and share documents and such. Again, I bought this laptop 100% myself, are they legally able to take it from me? They use the excuse "my house, my rules" which seems like a very flimsy excuse. I am 17 years old and I live in Massachusetts.

  • #2
    RE: Can my parents get away with this?

    Hello Maddie,

    Thanks for reaching out. It sounds like you were very disciplined to be able to save up money for this computer, and it is understandable to feel frustrated that you are not allowed to use it. You are feeling that it is unfair for your parents to take your laptop away since you bought it with your own money. That sounds very frustrating. We are not legal experts, but we can try to answer your questions with some general information. Different states have different laws regarding minors owning property, so there can be differences from state to state regarding if a youth actually owns their possessions. However, it does not sound like your mom took your laptop away permanently or is trying to sell it, which could technically be considered “theft” only if the laws in your state give minors rights over their possessions. Parents are legally allowed to set the rules of the house and discipline you as they see fit. Keeping your laptop until your grades come up is legal. If you feel that your parents have stolen your laptop, then your options would be to either call the police or to try to take them to court, however it is not likely that they will take your case. You might try talking to your parents to see if they are willing to compromise with you about your use of electronics, or try making a family contract laying out rules and conditions for when you can get your electronics back and what reasons it can be taken away for. Sometimes having all these rules in writing can help families where parents are not enforcing rules fairly. If you need help talking to your parents, we offer a conference call service on our hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY. You can give us a call any time if you would like to talk about your situation. We are looking forward to hearing from you soon, and wish you the best of luck.
    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)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!


    • #3

      I'm am new to this and I don't really want to go out on full detail. I have fallen into depression and my mother only took it as a joke I told my doctor that I felt depressed. He told my mother to find me a psychologist once we got out of the office and into the car my mother took it as a joke that's how it seemed to me but she did say I had no need for one. I hide my depression a lot so I believe she took it as a disbelieve that I was depressed. It only made me hide my depression even more it seemed like it was a joke to my mom it only made me more afraid of opening up. I've had attempted to kill my self clearly I didn't die. I have been having more suicidal thoughts I had one extremely recent I called the suicide prevention hotline so that's settled for now. My mother is like the only person in my life currently I have more family but my mother is the one taking care of me and she really doesn't. She leaves me alone like almost everyday sometimes for days she's been inactive in my life. Its really hard to open up about my life and when I did open up to my doctor that took a lot of guts for me. Especially when I'm currently 14 and my depression started at the age of ten. Everyday every passing hour alone. No one to talk to no one to ask how your day was no one to show up to you're games or ceremony's. Do you know how horrible to got up in front of people to receive a reward at a young age and no one to show it to or make proud of. I said I wouldn't go into detail here I am typing my soul out anyways the point is my mom is inactive in my life she doesn't care yet she's the only one left I don't know what to do please help me find a solution I didn't want this to be the solution but if it is so be it. I try my hardest to stay away from crime I live in a community where crime is very common and I try my hardest to stay away from crime but everyday is harder and harder and my status emotionally.
      Last edited by ccsmod7; 08-07-2017, 03:17 AM.


      • ccsmod7
        ccsmod7 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello there, thanks for reaching out today.

        Sounds like you are really struggling with your depression and your mom is not taking it seriously and has not been there for you. That seems really invalidating and defeating. Your mental health is so important, and should be treated as such. It is not okay that your mom has been inactive in your life. It sounds like her not being there for you is really hurting you. You seem like a very resilient person for dealing with all of this and here at NRS we truly want to help.

        We are glad to hear that you reached out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline last time you were feeling very suicidal. We strongly encourage you to always reach out to someone when you are feeling that way. We know it is brave of you to reach out to helplines, and we appreciate you doing so. It sounds like you are really isolated, and you should not have to go through this alone. Here at NRS, we truly want to be a support for you and to help you get through this difficult time. We are here 24/7 if you ever want to call or chat. We can try to brainstorm ways you can get the help you so deserve.

        If you are ever feeling like you are in immediate danger of harming yourself, please call 911. You would be put in a 72 hour hold in the hospital, and you would receive a psych evaluation. Also, if your mom is gone for days at a time and is not providing you with your basic needs, you do have the right to report that neglect to child protective services. If they investigate the neglect, they could provide services such as mandated counseling. To learn more about reporting you might contact the experts at Child Help 1-800-422-4453. Also, if you are in school or about to go back to school, you might talk to your school counselor about how you are feeling and how you are wanting to see a psychologist. Maybe they can advocate for you to receive treatment for your depression.

        It seems like your mom being inactive in your life is taking a huge toll on you. If you haven’t already, you might try to tell her how you are feeling. You deserve to have your feelings heard and respected. It is very reasonable for you to ask her to be there for you more. You should not have to go through this alone. It sounds like your mom jokes about your mental health; which is so not okay. If she is hard to talk to you might try to include a trusted adult in on the conversation who can help advocate for you like a counselor or grandparent.

        Here at NRS, we really want to be here for you. Please do not hesitate to call or chat whenever you need.

        Best of luck to you,

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