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Stalking parents in Ohio ordered to stay away from daughter

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Aubrey Ireland, left, an only child, says her parents' constant monitoring of her has been "embarrassing and upsetting," so she was forced to get a court order to keep them away. Her parents, including her mother Julie, called her a "good actor."(The Cincinnati Enquirer)

Tensions between a young woman and her parents have escalated to the point where Ohio university student Aubrey Ireland said they make her feel like "a dog with a collar on," so she has secured a stalking protection order against the couple.

The 21-year-old music theatre major and dean's list student told the Hamilton County court that her Kansas-based parents, David and Julie Ireland, would regularly travel over 960 kilometres to the University of Cincinnati for surprise visits.

The couple admitted to installing keylogging software on her computer and cellphone, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

"She's an only child who was catered to all her life by loving parents," Julie Ireland told the court. "We're not bothering her. We're not a problem." The couple called their daughter a "good actor."

But their daughter sees it a different way.

"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," she said in an Oct. 9 court hearing.

The court heard that the student's parents accused her of using drugs, being promiscuous, and having mental-health issues -- the latter, Aubrey said, formed the basis of her parents' bid to have her mental capabilities evaluated.

The parents told university administrators they could force such an assessment through the courts, which spurred their daughter's stalking order.

But the school, the court and mediators have sided with Aubrey Ireland.

The Cincinnati newspaper reports that, before the order, the university went so far as to hire security guards to deny David and Julie Ireland access to their daughter's performances, and agreed to give the high-achieving student a full scholarship to replace her parents' now-withdrawn financial support.

Judge Jody Luebbers also ruled in favour of the student and issued a civil stalking order against her parents.

David and Julie Ireland must stay at least 152 metres away from their only daughter, and not contact her until September 2013.

While the Irelands' situation is an extreme case of family meddling, many parents walk a difficult line of when and how to get involved in their children's lives.

How do you negotiate boundaries in your family? Where do you draw the line between healthy involvement in an adult child's life, and overbearing behaviour or harassment?

Tags: parenting, World

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