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How to Tell Your Parents You’re Moving Out

Moving out is a big step. It means you’re becoming a real grown-up, independent and free to make your own decisions.

Sometimes you just know when it’s time, so you prepare to make that leap. You do all the research, make sure to find a place in a safe neighbourhood, something affordable, close to your job. Maybe you start planning out how you want to design your room. You look into affordable furniture if the place isn’t furnished.

Then comes the hard part, telling your parents.

I’ll be honest with you, it’s not going to be easy. Your parents are going to tell you how expensive it is to live on your own, how you’ll save money on rent and groceries if you live with them. They’ll tell you they can change the way the house is run, that you can be more like a tenant, not obligated to come down to dinner if you’re busy working and not expected to meet a certain curfew. They might, if they’re like my parents, tell you how if you live on your own you won’t be able to put enough into savings to buy yourself a car, a house, to afford a wedding when you decide you want to get married.

They’re smart, parents and they’ve known you a long time, so odds are they’ll be pretty convincing, but fear not. I have some tips and tricks for how to tell your parents you’re moving out without causing too much of a fuss. Check it out!

Timing is everything

It’s probably not smart to have this conversation when your parent has just come home from a long and stressful day, or when they’ve been scolding your siblings for not cleaning the house. Find a time when you are all calm and have enough time and energy to really discuss things in detail. Hopefully, things won’t be too stressful, but in case they are, it’s good to have enough time to really delve into any concerns that come up without someone having to run off.

Have your research ready

Before talking to your parents, it’s best to do some research on your own. Figure out how much money you’ll be earning, how much you have saved and how high your expenses are going to be. If you just tell your parents that you want to move out, you can seem naive and unprepared, but if you tell them you want to move out, you’ve figured out a budget and have made sure it’s financially viable, they’ll see that you not only want this, you’ve taken the time to understand the practicalities of it and you can handle any expenses that come with it.

Write out your points

I love, when going into arguments with my parents, to make a list of all my points so that I don’t get flustered and lose the nuance of my arguments once things start to heat up. I’m not saying this conversation has to be an argument, but I find it’s best to prepare for the worst when it comes to conversations with the parents, and then you can be pleasantly surprised if things go well right off the bat.

Write out their points

So, not only do I list all of my arguments, but I also list all of the responses or arguments I think my parents might make, and I come up with rebuttals. Again, it will make you seem prepared and can help you from getting flustered when your parents ask difficult questions if you take the time to consider those beforehand.

Understand that this is a tough conversation

This conversation, no matter how smoothly it goes, is tough. Your parents will likely take your desire to move out personally, so it’s important to state why you want to move out (and sometimes, it’s okay to lie or bend the truth a little). When telling my parents, I focused on my desire for independence, and I talked a lot about my mental health, and how I’ve noticed over the last few years that it’s better when I’m at school than when I’m at home. It’s going to be hard, but just be honest and hope that they’ll understand that this decision isn’t about them, it’s about you.

Know that in the end, you’re an adult and this is your decision

This is tough, and obviously, it depends on your circumstances. In my case, I knew that even if my parents and I disagreed, in the end, they would come to accept my decision, so I was able to be assertive and insist this was my choice and what I wanted. I understand that not everyone has this luxury and that choosing to move out can burn a bridge with some families. I think the most important thing to think about in that situation is how much you want to move out. How much are you willing to give up for the chance to live on your own? I hope you won’t have to ask this question, and that you have the freedom to make your own decisions, but it’s also important to think about how far you’re willing to go, and where you draw the line.

Moving out is a big step and an exciting one, but it’s also a challenging conversation to have with your parents. Emotions will be high, and it’s easy to assume the worst, so I always recommend you come prepared, stay calm and figure out exactly how badly you want this. That way you can have a rational, reasonable conversation with your parents, and hopefully, you can get them on board!


Meghan Mazzaferro

Wilfrid Laurier '21

Meghan is an English and Film Studies major who has dreamed of being a writer all her life. When she's not writing essays and watching films for class, she loves to read YA novels and rewatch her favourite TV shows for the 100th time. Proud plant mama of 24 green beauties, and willing to adopt all the dogs.
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