I want to go to college, but my dad won’t let me. What should I do?


Hello. I'm a senior in high school and I turn eighteen next year. I want to go to college next fall. My dad said I'll go to college when he decides and in the meantime, he will probably want me to study at home to earn a medical coding license. Although I do not want to be a medical coder, I would not mind doing this so much except for the fact that it means I'll basically be at home all day.

He does not allow anyone in the family besides himself to drive, even my mom.  Also, the only time we really ever go anywhere is when we go to the grocery store. I do not want to be stuck at home for two years, which is probably how long it will take me to finish my studies in medical coding.

My older sister is currently doing this, and I do not want to take the same path. She is inside the house all day and cannot even go for a walk around the neighborhood because my dad doesn't like her to go anywhere alone.

My dad doesn't realize how his overprotectiveness is frustrating us. The no driving rule is permanent for all the females in my family. He said that he may let my sixteen-year-old brother drive, but only when he decides.

I'm thinking of working on scholarships and trying to get into a university without him knowing. But I don't know how God would feel about this? Should I just wait until he says I can go and helps me financially or try to do it on my own?

PS. It really disturbs me how my dad treats my mom. He used to hit her when they got into fights and this really upset me to the point where I didn't want to even want to talk to him and or bring him stuff when he told me to. He doesn't do it so much anymore, but when he is mad he'll take out his anger on her and threaten to slap her. It frustrates me that he makes my mom apologize to him and my siblings and me when they fight, but doesn't apologize for his own actions. I don't want to bitter, but it's becoming harder. I have prayed to God and He has removed much of the bitterness out of my heart, but I'm still indecisive on whether to leave or not.

Please help me. Thank you.


Strange. I don't recall any passage in the Bible which states that a father is the dictator of the family. "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). A father is a guide for the family, leading by going first and encouraging his family to follow his example. Your father isn't overprotective, he is selfish and demanding.

The sad thing is that he has no real power over his family beyond what they willingly give to him. If your dad hits your mom, she has the right to report his abuse to the police. She is choosing to take the hitting because she is convinced that it can't be better any other way. He never could stop your mom or any of your siblings from getting a license. The most he can do is refuse to pay for the testing and refuse to allow the children to drive his cars.

You are nearly an adult. You can do as you decide, and he has no control over those decisions nor responsibility for what you decide. Now, your decisions do have consequences, so the question is more whether you are ready to face them or not. If you decide you want to go into another career field, then you can expect that your dad is not going to finance it. Therefore, you need to apply for scholarships and grants. I would suggest talking with a school guidance counselor about the best options for you to pursue. Make sure the counselor understands that your father is not going to be cooperative because many grants ask for your parent's financial information, and I doubt your dad will supply it.

When you do strike out on your own, your dad is likely to refuse to house you any longer. Before that happens, I want you to talk to your preacher, the guidance counselor, and perhaps a social service worker about where you might find housing if it does come to that. One thing your dad is not allowed to do is hit you. If he even threatens to do so, you must be prepared to call the police immediately. Yes, your dad will get into trouble and your mom will blame you; however, the reason things have gotten this bad is that no one has corrected your father, and he mistakenly thinks that he can do as he pleases.

So you have quite a bit of "homework" to do to get ready for the possibilities. Meanwhile, even though your father is in the wrong here, you still need to be polite and respectful. Do not threaten or make demands of him; otherwise, you'll be just like him. Don't try convincing your mom to change while you are there. She won't believe you. Later, after you are successfully on your own, you can point out that she doesn't have to pretend to be a slave.

There is no need for you to be bitter. Your dad has and continues to make a number of mistakes. This just means it is time for you to start making decisions for your own life that is more in accordance with godly living.


Thank you so much. You have given me courage. May God bless you.

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