When your family moves

It's normally children who fly the nest, but what happens if your parents decide that their moving house? Leaving your family home can be a hard, especially if you’re moving far from friends too. The Mix explains your options.

Girl sat in a box.

"Boxes are fun. Moving is not."

Your rights when you don’t want to move

If you don’t want to move with your family and leave your local area, you’ll have big decisions to make about how to cope – both financially and domestically. How hard this will be is really dependent on your age, experience and what’s currently going on in your life.

  • If you’re aged between 16 and 18 you’ll need parental permission to set up your own home. Even with this, you may still struggle to receive financial support – especially if your parents offer you somewhere to live and you turn them down. In this situation, the authorities will see you as making yourself intentionally homeless.
  • You may be able to set yourself up in a home and apply for housing benefit to help with your rent, however, there are restrictions – especially if you’re a student, have been in care, or are living with a partner or relative.
  • Contact your Youth Housing Teams (run by your council) for more help about what benefits you’re entitled to.

Your options when you don’t want to move

You may find it easier to talk to your parents about why you’re so unwilling to move and see if they can help you find a compromise. Is there a close friend or relative who will let you live with them? This could be a good alternative, as you’ll have some of the support you’re used to, and won’t feel under so much pressure to fly the nest until you’re ready.

If you’re financially independent but living at home when your family decides to move, you’re in a better position if you decide to stay behind. Renting your own place could be an option if you’re holding down a job with an adequate income. First, work out a budget of how much rent you can afford to pay. Make sure you include money for paying your household bills and any added extras. You’ll probably find it’s cheaper to move into a shared house – it’s also a great way to meet new friends and boost your social circle while you’re getting used to your family being away.

If you want to move with your parents

It’s great that you want to embrace a new life – moving area can be an opportunity to make new friends, seek alternative job opportunities, and experience different lifestyles and cultures.

You may be champing at the bit to explore your new area, but don’t forget your old friends. Skype to Skype phone calls over the internet are free, you just need to sign up for an account and invest in a telephone headset for your computer. Online messenger services are perfect for quick chats, and social networking sites are ideal for sharing pictures and videos, so you won’t feel left out – even if you’re no longer living on the same street.

You’ve already left home, but your family moves away

You don’t have to still be living at home to feel a bit miffed when your parents announce they’re heading off somewhere new. When you’ve moved away from your local area, visiting your parents is often your main way of keeping up with friends from school and holding on to childhood memories. Even if you’ve stayed close by, you’re probably used to having your family nearby for support, advice and Sunday roasts, so their move can still come as quite a shock.

Talk to your parents before they leave to explain that you’re finding the idea difficult and you’ll probably find they share the same fears. Even though they’ve made the decision to move, it’s likely that they’re just as worried about seeing you less often.

Ask your parents to take a few of your childhood mementos with them. That way, when you visit their new place you’ll feel more at home. Perhaps set a day on which you always talk to your parents – keeping it regular will give you reassurance that support and advice is literally just a phone call away. And remember, they can always come and visit you. Inviting them round for Sunday lunch may seem strange, but it can help create a new stage in your relationship.

Photo of a girl in a box by Shutterstock.

Next Steps

  • Shelter's advice website for young people offers help with housing problems and a free helpline 0808 800 4444. If you're in Scotland, use http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/ instead.
  • 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.

By Sharon Brennan

Updated on 29-Sep-2015