[quote author=Greenie link=1187637828/0#1 date=1187638811]Well your parents are only looking out for you. I would do some research on lasers and safety with lasers then go to your parents with info in hand.
Show them that you can be responsible.
Show them that you can be responsible.
A parent will just see "whiny kid making up excuses" if you come to them with "research" etc.
There are two options open to you.
1. Wait until you have your own job and funds, and can buy what you want.
2. Develop an "interest" in electronics. Make Daedal's driver board and run a $4(U.S.) 5mW diode from eBay on it. Ask them to buy and order parts you need for "electronic projects". Even better, if you have a way to order or buy the parts yourself, just go and do it. Make sure the first few packages have safe/innocent contents, like harmless electronics kits when they want to see what's in the packages, or open them for you. Unless they're very suspicious and strict, they'll stop opening packages someday.
Bombard them with technical terminology (hopefully your parents aren't scientists, IT/IS workers, or Engineers...) about what you're doing, the non-high power laser projects you're building, and they'll get bored listening to you, and only give a glance at what you're doing do be sure it dosen't look dangerous. Go to www.dealextreme.com and ask them if you can spend your allowance or birthday money on the non-laser gadgets they sell there that you might like. There's plenty of flashights and gadgets that aren't lasers a kid would like there.
See if you can get your own PayPal account going, and can fund it from your own money.
Once you've got them used to you ordering electronic parts, gadgets, computer accessories, little fiddly things and wires etc. a bare laser diode assembly coming home in the mail one day won't look threatening, like a pen-pointer you could stick in your pocket and get in trouble with at school.
At a minimum even if you can't get a laser until you're older, you'll get a bunch of tools like a multimeter, soldering iron & gear, Dremel tool, hobby knives, mini-screwdrivers etc. that you'll still need when you're 18 and able to buy whatever you want. Maybe your parents will have bought those things for you, letting you spend your money on the lasers you want when they can't say no anymore.
Seriously though, a lot of us older guys don't have "parent trouble" with our hobbies, we've got "wife trouble" with our hobbies. ;D
Frankly, as a kid and a teenager at 16 years old, I leanred how to experiment with all sorts of things by simply not asking. I went to the local electronic surplus shop, bought a Helium-Neon laser tube, and made my first laser without asking anybody.
For dealing with parents (and spouses) here are the rules.
1. Ease them into it. Work up to what you want little by little. Get them used to seeing you do related things that aren't objectionable.
2. Say as little as possible. THINK before you go talking to your parents, bragging "THERES THESE COOL LASERS ON THE INTERNET THAT CAN BURN STUFF!", then a week later come back saying "Um, gee... Mom? Can I, um, like buy one of those lasers?" :
3. When you have to say something about what you're doing, think carefully, and tell as much of the truth as you can.[/quote]
Ok... this is a very nice post, and a very bad post. First of all... I admire your diligence and how much attention you paid to the details. But I think you forgot a few things. This parent-fooling guide is... well... pretty mean... :-/ I don't really think I'd want my kid looking at that and thinking of ways to fool me into things. I believe I am smarter than that and a trust relationship should be built between parents and kids.
As about the spouse... now, that is a different story... here's what I do. I cook a nice meal and shave. I listen to her and then take her to buy a pair of shoes. Then I go buy the laser... none the wiser! ;D
I'm sorry to hear about your situation LaserNoob, but trust me when I say this. Your parents care about you, and they love you very much no matter what. You will understand it eventually when you have a kid of your own. When you think "they don't let me do anything", think of how they think of it. No parent would want their kid to be unhappy, but at the same time, no parent would want their kid to get harmed. I was 18 and my parents wouldn't let me go out and drive around. I had a car, but I couldn't use it as I pleased. Stupid? YES! Annoying? Of course! But honestly... I don't think I missed out on much. Although they never told me, the reason they did it is because my parents were worried that I would want to go joy-riding and get myself in dangerous situations. On the other hand... I never got in an accident, and am always the mature and careful one. I don't drive like an old lady either, I go to the track and have taken precision driving lessons. I can burn up rubber, screech the tires, do donuts, and take a 90 degree turn at 40 miles per hour without breaking a sweat. My parents taught me to earn my own trust. I wouldn't hold a 100mW, 150mW, or 200mW laser unless I personally know that I can be smart with it. It becomes a habit. In turn, I always had their trust.
I hope I didn't ramble on too much, but I strongly urge all kids and parents alike to build a trust relationship and share interest just like SenKat said. That is the best way to earn things.