Tips for helping you cope when your child moves out…
This is a big step in your parenting journey – and an even bigger step for your teen. We’re here to help you and your teen cope with the changes as they make their leap to independence.
Reasons For Moving Out
There are lots of reasons why a teenager might want to move out. Your teen might want to:
- Live independently and be fully responsible for their own life
- Live with a partner or a friend
- Move closer to college, work or university
- Move out to avoid family conflict
It’s normal to feel a mix of emotions when your teenager decides to move out. Depending on their age and situation, you may have worries about how they’ll manage, both financially and practically. Many parents feel sadness and even loss when their child leaves – this is often known as ‘empty nest syndrome’. You might also feel resistant to their decision, especially if you don’t think they are mature enough to manage on their own. Other parents might even feel a sense of relief, especially if the teenager in question is at the older range of the scale and has the life skills and responsibility to manage to live alone successfully.
It’s a different situation when the move isn’t amicable. If your child is moving out because of conflict at home, and either you’ve asked them to leave or they’ve chosen to go, the situation is obviously a lot more complex. Remember, parents, are legally responsible for children in their care until they are 18 years old. This means providing them somewhere safe to live.
Try talking to your teenager. Choose the right time to talk – wait until everyone is calm before starting a conversation. An independent mediator may be able to help you communicate more effectively and hopefully reach a compromise to make the home a happier place.
Talking To Your Teen
Whatever your feelings, it’s important to sit down and talk to your teenager. Tell them how you feel about their decision and voice any concerns you might have, clearly and calmly. It’s equally important to listen to their point of view in order to understand each other.
You can also ask them about their plans and help them work out how they’ll manage living on their own. You can discuss practicalities such as how they will:
- Manage their money. Will they have enough to cover rent, bills, food and clothes?
- Commute to work/college/university
- Cope with the practical side of keeping a home – cooking and cleaning, for example
Supporting Your Teen
If your teenager decides to go ahead with the move you can offer to support them in various ways. You can offer to help with:
- Finding a place to stay. That way, you can provide an experienced opinion and make sure they’re moving to a clean, safe space with a fair rent.
- The move itself. Help them pack up their belongings and donate any old furniture or necessities like towels and sheets if you have them. If they’re on a budget (and most young people are) you can also help them find low-cost furnishings, appliances and utensils online or in local charity shops or second-hand shops.
- Creating a simple budget to help them manage their outgoings.
Keeping Communication Open
Let your teen know that moving out doesn’t mean they’ll be completely on their own. Let them know they can call you at any time and invite them over for a regular dinner or weekly visit to make it clear that your door is always open.
Be prepared for a possible return. Sometimes the move won’t work out for any number of reasons and your teenager will want to come home. It can take one or two moves before a young person eventually moves out permanently for good.
Support For You
It’s important you get support, too, especially if you’re feeling anxious or worried. Talk to family and friends about how you’re feeling. If it helps you to ‘check in’ with your teenager regularly (and they’re happy for you to do so), then great.
It can also help to keep busy to take your mind off your anxieties. This is especially true if your child is the last to fly the nest – getting used to a home without children can be a big adjustment. You might find yourself with a lot of spare time on your hands or feet at a loss now that you’re not the primary caregiver. Be kind to yourself and give yourself time to adjust. Try to fill your time by picking up an old hobby or doing something you’ve always wanted to try, retraining, travelling or returning to work.