How to live with your parents

You want to move out. Your parents want you to move out... but the world ain't really allowing that to happen anytime soon. Staying in the family home past a certain age can be tough. We asked agony aunt Suzie Hayman how you keep things peaceful whilst still enjoying hot dinners and cheap rent.

Girl sat on other side of sofa from dad and mum sat behind

Is the cheap rent really worth it?

My parents keep treating me like a child

It’s easy to slip back into old teenage habits, but all of you have to accept you’ve grown up now and your relationship has changed. You can’t change your parent’s behaviour, but you can influence it by changing yours. So suppress the urge to slam doors and work on showing them how mature you are now.

“When you behave childishly your parent will behave like a parent,” says agony aunt Suzie Hayman. “But if you stick with being like an adult, they’ll stop.”

Do I have to tell them when I’ll be out?

Your parents will undoubtedly want to know who’s in the house and who’ll be around for dinner. If you’re all grown-up now, it can feel pretty intrusive. But as long as they’re not stopping you going out, it’s perhaps easier just to let them know when you’ll be back.

“I had to adjust to my mum’s kind-of-overbearing need to know when I would be in for food by texting her every day,” says Alice, 23, who moved back home to do her teacher training.

“She’d never really used her mobile before, and it was a change for me too, but things worked much better between us once it started.”

How do I stop them nagging me about my future?

If you’re unemployed or going through a break-up, then the last thing you want is constant questions about what your plans are.

But, rather than jump down your parent’s throats, when they ask such things, say something like: “Thank you so much for asking, mum, I’m dealing with that.”

This makes it clear that, even though you’re grateful for your parents care, you’re still the one who makes decisions about your future.

On the other hand, if you’re living in their house, eating their food and not even trying to look for a job, of course your parents will get frustrated.This article gives tips on where to find a job.

Can I still have a sex-life?

Living with your parents can make dating, especially the sex bit, awkward. To prevent them calling the police when they bump into your topless ‘friend’ in the middle of the night, ask them beforehand if someone can stay over. They might say no, but then, it is their house.

“My parents are pretty relaxed, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking anyone back. It’s not the end of the world though, I’ve always been more of a fan of away days!” says Clarence, 22, who lived at home for a year after graduating.

Should I be helping around the house?

Sorry, but yes. Anyway, not helping will cost more agro than it’s worth. The easiest way to avoid nagging is to do the washing up before you get asked.

Agree with your parents what chores you’ll be responsible for, how often you’ll cook dinner and whether you’ll pay them something towards the bills. You’ll feel more independent if you’re contributing, and coming to an agreement will avoid any ‘you don’t ever do this’ battles.

“It’s not good for you, or your parents, if they’re looking after you beyond a certain age,” says Suzie.

What about my social life?

It should be OK to have friends over, as long as you’re considerate to your parents and discuss it with them first.

“Ask your parents to have the living room for, say, one night a week,” says Suzie “But it’s not fair if you keep colonising the place.”

And make sure you still go out lots, without being embarrassed that you’re living at home. See friends as often as you can, or you’ll end up feeling lonely and frustrated.

When should I move out?

When you feel ready. That doesn’t necessarily mean waiting until you’ve got the perfect job and house lined up, or you could be waiting forever. Give yourself time, but be firm with yourself about a deadline so you have something to work towards.

“See your time with parents as a swing board and aim to move out in ‘X’ number of months,” says Suzie.

I’m worried about my parents if I leave

If your parents, or your siblings, are having a rough time, don’t let this stop you from moving out.

“You shouldn’t feel bad about not being able to fix things,” says Suzie. “It’s not your fault and it’s not your problem to fix.”

There are other people who can help, such as the organisations in the Next Steps box below.

Next Steps

  • Relate is an affordable relationship and sex counselling service. 0300 100 1234
  • Do you want to understand your relationship better? Love Smart helps you work it all out.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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Updated on 29-Sep-2015