The crazy story of 21-year old Aubrey Ireland winning a restraining order against her hovering “helicopter parents” has struck a nerve with me. As the mother of three teenage daughters, I often quote Liam Neeson’s line from the movie, “Taken,” where he basically tells his daughter he isn’t being paranoid, so much as he’s aware of what is out there in the world.
Sending a child off to college is a difficult thing for parents. But the Ireland’s took things to an extreme that is truly insane. ABC News reported that the “21-year-old theatre student has obtained a civil stalking restraining order against her parents after convincing a judge that they attempt to control all aspects of her daily life.” The parents must now remain 500 feet away from their only child.
The parents admitted to installing monitoring software on Aubrey’s computer and cell phone and they would drive 600 miles, unannounced, to check up on their daughter at college and meet with her professors. Even more alarming, Aubrey told ABC she would have to leave Skype on so her parents could see she was in her dorm room and they would watch her sleep all night.
The college senior attends one of the most prestigious music schools in the country and is a dean’s list student. Yet her parents accuse “their daughter of promiscuity, doing drugs, and having mental issues to the point where they were considering going to court to order that she get treatment.”
The parents seem to be the ones with mental issues. In fact, the daughter told ABC her parents were diagnosed with “co-dependency disorder.” The parents see absolutely nothing wrong with their stalker-ish behavior, saying, “Their daughter is just a good actor, and is lying. She is an only child who has been catered to all her life.”
The parents stopped paying Aubrey’s tuition, but the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati gave her a full scholarship for her final year.
Sadly, Aubrey said she didn’t want things to get to this point with her parents, but added, “I wasn’t in control of my life at all anymore. I knew that they were holding me back emotionally, mentally, and professionally.”
Her mother Julie, though, repeated to ABC, “We’re not bothering her. We’re not a problem.”
Watch more on this bizarre story in an exclusive ABC News report: