Parents sometimes do crazy things when their children leave home as young adults. Some may buy a pet to shower a new creature with love. Others may become reckless and buy a motorcycle. Or, for University of Cincinnati student Aubrey Ireland, her parents took up stalking. Stalking her that is.
Their relationship got so bad that Aubrey took her parents to court over their obsessive behaviour, according to media reports. “It’s just been really embarrassing and upsetting to have my parents come to my university when I’m a grown adult and just basically slander my name and follow me around,” Ireland stated during an Oct. 9 court hearing.
The 21-year-old musical theatre major said her parents would often drive almost 1,000 kilometres from Leawood, Kan., to show up uninvited at her school and then accuse her of being sexually promiscuous and addicted to illegal drugs.
They even went so far as to try to convince the university’s administrators that their daughter was suffering from a mental illness and would seek a court order if she refused to get treatment.
During the court hearing, her parents admitted they installed software on her cellphone and laptop to monitor her keystrokes and to review the numbers she was calling.
Now there are helicopter parents, then there is just plain harassment.
Her parents said their actions came from a place of love and genuine concern, not wanting what they considered risky behaviour to ruin her talent and success (Ireland has reportedly been on the Dean’s List every quarter).
Her father evidenced his worries about Ireland’s mental health with statements that three of his first cousins had committed suicide, according to court documents quoted by USA Today.
But their “this-was-for-her-own-good” defence didn’t hold up in court. After a judge urged the family to settle this matter without a judgment, Ireland’s parents demanded that she reimburse them for the three years of college tuition they had paid for, totalling $66,000 (U.S.).
After mediations failed, the judge ruled in Ireland’s favour, referencing the fact that she was legally an adult. Her parents now have to stay 500 feet away from her and can’t have contact with her until at least Sept. 23, 2013.