How to Tell Your Overprotective Parents You're Moving Out
10 Steps to Tell Your Parents You're Moving Out
You want to move out. You want to make your own home. You're ready to live independently. . . but your parents might disagree.
How do you break the news to an overprotective mom or dad without risking an explosion or a meltdown? You could just pick up your stuff and take off without looking back, but there is a better way. This will be one of your first independent moves as an adult, after all, and you want to start off on the right foot.
When I moved out of my parents' home, it was not easy. Here's what I learned. Doing each of these things would have saved us all a lot of pain and suffering.
1. Think Before You Talk
Nothing is worse than setting off the parent bomb without thinking things through beforehand. You'll need to fully analyze your situation before you say a word. So before you make a move, be sure that you are able to move out and it's what you really want to do. It'll only make things worse if you end up changing your mind or returning home because you weren't really prepared.
2. Have a Realistic Plan
I told my parents that I was going to move out in one year. This time period would coincide with my internship. I gave myself one year to do everything I could to build relationships, network, and finish projects for my portfolio before I would move out.
Having a set plan helps you avoid getting stuck in a dead-end situation and also gives you the motivation you need to complete what you need to accomplish to achieve your goals. Things to think about:
- Boyfriend/girlfriend: How serious is the relationship? Can you trust him/her? Are you ready to commit to living together? What would happen if things went wrong?
- Pets: Are there any animals you need to find homes for before you leave? Who will take care of the pets you leave, or are you taking your animal with you?
- Illness: If either of your parents are sick, you should have an answer for the question of whether leaving now is the right choice. Think about what your absence will mean for your family and you would do if things got worse with them.
- Leftover junk: Will you take everything with you, or are you hoping your parents will let you keep stuff in their house?
3. Be Ready to Defend Yourself
If you're parents are like mine, you'll need to have a plan before you approach them. As soon as I broke the news to my dad, he immediately said, "No, you're not." I had to defend myself and tell him what the plan was, who I had talked to, and how I would utilize the support of my social network. You should be able to say if your job is going to be permanent or if it's merely a step toward your dream situation.
4. Don't Break the News Alone
If you're moving in with a roommate or a boyfriend/girlfriend, having them there for support when you break the news to your parents will demonstrate a level of commitment and show them that you're not alone in your decision. Having your future roommate(s) with you may help lessen some of the fear your parents are feeling.
Both you and your future roommates should be prepared with important answers for your parents so you will be able to respond to their fears. For example, your parents will probably want to know how you'll pay for a separate living situation, so you all might tell them about your earnings or of potential job offers and what you'll be doing to support yourselves.
5. Break the News to Your Parents Last
This might seem a little odd to some people, but for me, I found that it was easier and a little less daunting to broach the subject with my parents after I'd talked to my friends and extended family. You'll be able to talk about what you want to do and practice your words without fear of disdain or disapproval.
6. ...Or Tell Your Closest Parent First
If you're closer to one of your parents, it might help to tell that one before the other so that you can test the waters. You might also be able to ask for their help breaking the news to the other.
7. Ask for Advice
Your friends and family will be able to tell you how it was when they left their childhood homes and help give you the information and courage you need to make your decision.
If you're like me (someone who hates conflict), this is going to be a scary and new situation for you. You'll be glad to have the support and love of people you care about before you step into the ring with your parents. There's comfort knowing that you have the support of friends and family, especially if you know that your parents are not going to support your decision.
8. Have Realistic Expectations
Avoid fantasies and unrealistic expectations in your head. You should have a general idea of how your parents will react.
Will they forgive or do they hold grudges? Will they support you or give you the silent treatment? Will there be screaming? Is there a possibility they will kick you out of the house? Preparing for the worst will help keep your resolve strong.
As much as I wanted to still be friends and have my mom like me, I knew that telling her that I was moving out, out-of-state, and with my boyfriend to boot would make her furious. Knowing this, I was prepared for the silent treatment and knew that my name would be mud for a couple months.
9. Involve Your Future Roomate
If you are moving in with a roommate, it's a good idea to bring them by the house for your parents to meet so they at least will know what sort of company you'll be in.
Questions to ask yourself before you get a roommate:
One huge reason for moving out is to improve your quality of life and experience positive new things. You don't want to move from one negative situation into another.
If you're moving in with a friend or boyfriend/girlfriend, ask yourself if they're really trustworthy. Are they true partner or are they a burden? Are they someone you can function with and be around most of the day?
I advise you to first spend a few days alone together, in a hotel or at a family member's house, to see how it goes. Is your potential roommate clean? Were they courteous with their space and did they look after themselves? If you need some sort of an excuse to test the waters, try finding an event that is a distance away from your house so it will force you to stay with your potential roommate (like a film festival, concert, or mini vacation, for example).
10. Try to Understand Your Parents' View
As much as you want to move out and no matter how it goes down, remember to look at the situation from your parents' point of view. If you're the first child to move out, or the only one, it's no doubt going to be harder them to hear the news. The same is true if you're female, if you're moving in with a boyfriend/girlfriend, or if you plan to move far away.
Make an effort to alleviate their fears by having a plan and thinking things over before you act on your decision. Be sure to let them know that you still love them and they're welcome to come by and visit.
When did you tell your parents you were moving out?
Advice I Would Give My Past Self
Don't wait too long to tell your parents. My anxiety and stress could have been reduced significantly if I hadn't waited so long. It's better to not picture every possible horrible outcome and just get it over with.
Growing up, I never felt close to either of them and didn't feel I was able to talk to them about big life decisions. But the truth is that now, after the move, I have a better relationship with my parents.
How to Say Goodbye to Your Parents When You Move Out
I don't feel like I picked the right words to express myself when I moved out. If I could do it over, I would suggest...
- leave a picture frame with a good picture of yourself in it
- write a nice letter expressing how much you'll miss them and thanking them for all they've done (if you're better at writing than talking about your feelings, this may be a good way for you to express your emotions)
- buy a webcam so you can Skype
- promise that you'll keep in touch.
After you finally move out, there's a possibility that one or both of your parents will need a little bit of a "cool down" period. Let them have their space and when you feel like you've given them some time, remember to try to be friends after the situation.
You can't choose your family, but they're important. They are your biggest support system. And, as annoying as it is, being overprotective just means that your parents care for you. It's a big life decision—not just for you, but for your parents, as well.
What's Your Moving-Out Story?
How were your parents when you broke the news? If you have a story, feel free to share it below. How you approached the situation may help someone else.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.