Most people move out of the family home and set up their own place during their late teen’s to late 20’s. Whether or not this is a smooth transition depends on the reasons for the move and the strength of the family relationships. Parents need to be aware of their young person’s needs and communicate their concerns. Ideally, both the parents and the young person are happy about the arrangement and the move is well planned.
Some of the many reasons why a young person moves out of home include:
- Wishing to live independently.
- Location difficulties e.g. the need to move closer to university.
- Relationship breakdown with parents, stepparents or siblings.
- Conflict in the home.
- Being asked to leave by their parents.
If your son or daughter decides to move out you may feel:
Worried – you may be worried that your child is not able to look after him or herself, e.g. manage the washing, cooking and bill paying. You may have concerns about your child’s lifestyle choices, e.g. their sexual values or peer group.
Sad – you may feel grief when your child moves out of home. This is something many parents feel. Parents who worry that their children aren’t ready to take on adult responsibilities tend to experience more grief.
Resistant – you may not want your child to move out unless they marry or buy a house. If the young person wants to leave home for other reasons, it may cause conflict in the family.
Embarrassment – you may fret about what other people may think and assume the worst. For example, you might be afraid that your child is leaving home ‘too soon’ and it will make you look like you are not a good parent.
Suggestions for parents when children move out of home
Solve existing problems. If your child wants to leave home because of a fight or another family problem, try your best to find solutions. Seek professional help if necessary. In the meantime, arrange for your child to stay short term with family or friends.
Avoid arguments. If you don’t approve of your child’s reasons for moving out, e.g. if you dislike their partner, avoid arguing. Accept their decision and help in any way you can. Your positive attitude now will help start your new relationship with them on the right foot.
Offer practical help e.g. guide them in drawing up a budget, help them move, give them a few pieces of furniture or household items. These gestures will be appreciated.
Continue to communicate. Suggest they come home regularly for family dinners and let them know they can call you anytime.
Prepare for a possible return. Don’t be too quick to put their old bedroom to another use. They may need to return home once or twice before they finally find their feet.
Get involved in other things. If you feel sad and lost without them, actively work on overcoming ‘empty nest syndrome’. Consider returning to work, retraining, travelling, involving your partner in couple-oriented activities, picking up an old hobby or starting a new one.