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How to Convince your Parents you’re an Adult

Updated on August 29, 2013

Your parents are great. They want to take care of everything for you. They pack your lunch, do your laundry, give you a curfew, choose your dates, scold your friends and stand up for you every opportunity they get. They fix your hair and wipe your chin and still feel entitled to tell you what your wardrobe should look like. Endearing isn’t it? The only problem is you’re 10+ years beyond being a teenager. To the world, you’re an adult, but your parents just don’t see it.

As a teenager you probably couldn’t wait until you hit adulthood; the magical time you’d be able to ride off into the sunset of freedom and independence. You counted down the years until you would pack up and officially move into I’m-the-boss-of-me-ville.

Cue the screeching record.

For all you Millennials out there, that would sound something like this

To your parents, you may always be their little kid. You can imagine how this causes complications when it comes down to getting them to take you seriously and give you some credit and space when it comes to making your own critical life choices.

As a teenager you may have thought it was good enough for you to simply put your headphones on and zone out or to just agree with whatever they say and leave it at that. But as an adult, you will quickly realize that communication is key. When it comes to your parents, it is the best way to deal with any situation.

How you react to your parents is crucial. Don’t expect a long screaming match to solve anything. It might just convince your parents even further that you need to be under surveillance or checked into rehab. Getting your parents to release their grip may require lots of patience and many occasions of gentle confrontation.

First off, accept responsibility

You may not always enjoy it when you’re over-parented as an adult. But admit it, there are some times it’s really convenient. Such as where your finances are concerned. If your parents want to pay for everything, then why not? If they want to know where you are at all times, then… Whoa wait, they can’t do that. Right?

If you’re financially dependent on your parents, you can’t be too surprised that they would be concerned with the rest of your life.

For your parents to take you seriously as a responsible adult, then you need to be a responsible adult by taking care of yourself, including your own finances – because that’s what grown ups do.

It’s assumed that you have a job and therefore have responsibilities. Plan out your budget and allocate your finances and monthly maintenance. Communicate to your parents that you will take responsibility that month. Then proceed to live within your means without relying on them. By doing this you convey that you can indeed take care of yourself. You will not escape the helicopter parenting if you do not actually demonstrate that, yes, you are indeed able to do things without them having to bail you out.

Be open

Don’t try to lock horns with your parents over an issue but also don’t simply submit to the things you’re not comfortable with. Tell your parents gently and firmly when something offends/bother you. It would be easier for your parents to stop and listen if you approach the situation honestly, while still maintaining a level of respect.

Establish boundaries

Do not give your parents total jurisdiction over your life. Respectfully tell them when they have overstepped the line. If they criticize you, instead of lashing out at them or agreeing with them, let them know that you are comfortable with your choice/action and would appreciate it if they accept/understand that. Let them know that you are aware of the consequences (brownie points for actually having thought as far as consequences).

Do not enable you parents’ behavior, because at the end of the day you’re doing what you feel is best for you.

Empathize with your parents

As hard as this may be, try to put yourself in their shoes. It’s not you they’re really attacking, but their own insecurities. It’s not uncommon for parents to display over-affectionate and attached behavior toward their children. Do not push them way completely. Establish boundaries while still maintaining a healthy relationship with your parents.

Be sensitive toward their feelings and don’t bring up their own shortcomings to suit your argument. Those shortcomings could very well be the evidence behind why they behave the way they do, so don’t play the blame game.

Your parents might feel rejected by your desire to be independent, but this comes from the realization that you no longer need them.

Move out

While you live under your parents’ roof, you play by their rules. That’s just how its been since the dawn of time. There could be many different variables around why you’re still living at home as an adult and this could very well be as a result of their firm grip. They guilt trip you into staying; crying about how selfish it would be if you left. Or they may encourage you to leave, yet in the same breath point out all the reasons why that would be a bad thing.

Your need for personal space and privacy increases as you mature. There is great value that can come out of branching off on your own, even if for a short while.

When you’re ready to leave, sit down with your parents to discuss your plans. You could either reassure them with a time frame (perhaps you will be going away for a year) or by letting them know that you will visit at least once a month. Staying in touch will help ease their anxiety.

Dealing with an overbearing parent can be quite difficult and frustrating, but remember that you need to accept the role that you play in perpetuating the type of relationship you have with your parents. You do not have to accept their behavior toward you. You can be respectful and mature while being honest and assertive when communicating your need for independence. This is the true mark of your adulthood and, in time, your parents will see you’re capable of being your own person and making responsible choices.

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