Dear Dr. Wallace:

I have been invited by my friend to go with her and her family to London for 10 days, but my parents won’t let me go because they do not know this family very well. They are a good family, and I’ve been friends with their daughter for the past four months ever since we met each other at a basketball game at our high school earlier this year.

The trip is not scheduled until the middle of August, so I still have time. The father in this family is an American by birth, and the mother was born in England, so this is a homecoming trip for her. We would be staying mostly in the homes of her relatives in England. It sounds like so much fun, and now I really want to go!

— Hoping to travel to London, via email

Dear Hoping To Travel To London: You did not mention your age, but since you met this girl at a high school basketball game, you’re both obviously teenagers, likely between 16 and 18.

As a first step, you would need a passport, so you should start that process immediately, just in case. The next step would be to visit this girl and her parents at her home and see if it would be possible for them to invite your parents to dinner or at least a visit to their family home in order to get to know them better. There’s no guarantee that even after such a meeting your parents will change their minds, but at least at that point your chance of a positive answer could rise dramatically.

Usually, most parents make decisions driven by their intuition and their comfort level. Meeting your friend’s parents can help on the comfort level front, but their intuition is still a hurdle that you may or may not be able to overcome at this time.

No matter how this turns out, if you remain good friends with this girl, odds are she will visit England again at some point due to her mother’s ties to that nation. Once you turn 18, you’ll be able to make your own travel decisions and have a good history of a longer friendship together as well.

Dear Dr. Wallace: My mom won’t let my friends go upstairs to my bedroom because she says all of our bedrooms are up there and that’s were many of our family’s prized possessions are stored.

I find this unusual, and in fact I’ve never not been allowed into bedrooms when I visited my friends at their homes. Is my mother acting normal here?

It’s true my parents do have some valuable items in their room, which is next to mine, but my room doesn’t really have anything of great financial value in it. Is my mom just saying this to keep me from bringing friends into my room for some reason?

— Very puzzled by this, via email

Dear Very Puzzled By This: Not knowing your family or your parents in particular, it’s hard to say what their reasons are for sure, but you’ve identified the two most likely possibilities. Either they are indeed concerned about expensive items they keep in their room, or they don’t want you taking friends upstairs into your room out of their sight.

You didn’t mention your age, but if you’re a younger teen this could be not as uncommon as you might at first believe it to be. Also, if your parents don’t know some of your friends too well, this could be another factor. The more familiarity they have with your friends, the more likely they will be to cut you some slack and allow you to spend time with your friends unsupervised, at least for brief periods of time.

Accept their rules for now and do your best to earn their trust, and I believe your parents may loosen the rules as you grow older.

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