Good morning everyone. Thanks in advance if you read all the following.

I have turned 21 this year and yet, my parents still consider me as a little child.

For example, they call me everyday at 7 P.M if I don't come home from work. I have to call them beforehand if I want to go out unbothered, or else they will call me every 10 minutes or so, with eventually the help of my older brother threatening me if I don't answer. I have nothing to hide but it's very VERY annoying having to tell my family what I'm doing every evening.

They really want to have total control and knowledge of what I do, at any time. They also want me to ask them when I want to buy something (with my money), and if they don't want to we keep arguing and basically I have to convince them.

Also, if they want me to come home immediately and I don't, i will get a fight with them the precise moment I come home. Speaking of which, my parents DO NOT SLEEP until I'm home. So psychologically I'm also tempted not to be out for too long, because I love them and I don't want them to feel too bad or to get to angry. They are quite old.

They wake me up at morning if i wake up late for work, they yell at me if i'm still awake late in the evening.

If they could, they'd take all my spendings and only give me about what I need to eat, and manage the rest of my money themselves (yes they already told me that seriously).

I have to say that I pay for about 75% of our total house spendings (mostly debts), which means that I cannot move out for the moment. That also means that I am not dependent of them, it's the other way around.

I am really tired of this. I feel like I have no independance at all, and the more it goes the more pissed I am when I interact with my parents. I don't want to talk to them a lot, I just do what they ask me to and the rest of the time I barely talk to them. So this is really poisonous for our relationship and house life.

I know that this behavior shows that they care for me, and that they love me, but I really want this to stop. I want them to understand that they should not call me if I'm not home at 7p.m., and that all decision I take is mine and only mine. I want simply to have the freedom of doing what I want, without having to ask for their approval first.

I already feel kind of stuck in my life because most of my earnings go into my parents debts, them being tired, and unable to find a decent work. For the moment I cannot search for a wife because I do not have a good situation. But I just want freedom for now, that's all i ask for.

I feel like they lack confidence in me, and still think I am 12 years old. this didn't help for my self-confidence. I do not smoke, nor do I drink. I don't make foolish actions. I feel that I live responsibly enough to take my decisions in life alone.

How can I make them understand that they should let me breathe ?

  • 4
    I feel for you; I turned 35 this year and whenever I'm at home I have similar, if not so serious, problems with my parents' ideas of what i should be doing and when...
    – MD-Tech
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 16:18
  • 1
    You may find these questions over on IPS helpful too: How can I ask my parents to stop calling me when I'm out or ask me where I'm going?, How to say “I'm an adult now” to my parents?
    – user29147
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 17:02
  • 1
    26 and same problem. Live on my own with wife and kid, still get regular super-worried calls warning me about this and that possibile personal disaster derived from imaginary scenarios in their mind where I am the idiot kid and they have to save me. Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 11:54
  • Thank you for your time guys, i feel you, we seem to have similar concerns here. I also feel like I am some kind of kid who is subject to all kind of threats, and need to be permanently taken care of
    – panameera
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 9:45
  • Why is their no mention of your parents paying off their own debts ? I understand wanting to help out but there has to be a point where you understand that if your parents aren't fixing their own problem, what's to stop them from getting into debt again? This is why many people never do! I would strongly recommend moving out ASAP, these relationships are very unhealthy for everyone involved. If you want to help your folks, simply send them an allowance check.
    – rlb.usa
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 22:48

2 Answers 2


I think you have 2 problems here. The solutions are related and each is going to take some work.

First, you will always be your parents' child. That will never change. The problem isn't that you are their child, but rather that they are having a hard time transitioning their relationship with you. It takes work for your parents to stop seeing you as their little boy who they've always had to look out for and start seeing you as a capable adult. In order for this to happen, you are going to have to convince them you are that adult. I would recommend both showing it through your actions and by trying to have a conversation about this when everyone is calm. See if you can determine why they don't seem to trust you out of their sight. Show what you have done to be a responsible, independent adult that can get by without requiring their help.

The second problem I suspect is tied to the first problem. Given what you've said about your financial contribution to the household, it sounds like you are everyone's meal ticket there. And they are probably, at some level, afraid that you might move out. And if you leave, they (and their current lifestyle) are screwed. Thus the fighting and trying to control you. If you never get a wife or find a social life and are constantly worried about them, you are (to their thinking) less likely to leave. They are leeching off you. And don't kid yourself into thinking they aren't.

How you handle the second problem is highly dependent on what you are willing to do. If you are willing to move out on your own, you can either just do that and get out of their reach or threaten to do so unless they can start treating you with more respect. (Note: if you go down this path, you MUST be prepared to actually move out. Threatening and relenting or moving out then back in will just end up digging you into a bigger hole. They will just learn that your threats are empty or that you aren't ready to be a responsible adult and that they were RIGHT to be so controlling.)

If you aren't ready to take that step, one option is to try and work out some compromises with them. This will take some carefully timed conversation with some carefully thought out arguments. You will have to determine what you are willing to put up with, what you can compromise on and what is absolutely unacceptable. Depending on how they respond will determine where you go next. If you can all get to an acceptable place, great. Problem solved. If you can't or they don't respect the agreement you reached, then you have a choice to make. You can either just put up with everything. Or you can move out (or put up with everything long enough to be able to move out).

Ultimately, you have a boundary setting problem here. How to do that has been discussed on this site many times (usually by @anongoodnurse). Do some research on that and work on setting boundaries with your parents.

I know you said your parents are having trouble finding work. I wouldn't worry about that too much. People tend to get off their butts and get really serious about finding a new job when they are running out of options to fill their bellies. As long as you enable them to be lazy and make a half-hearted job search, they will likely never be motivated to get serious about it.

  • 1
    +1 for the last paragraph; when someone's doing everything for you what's your motivation to do something for yourself?
    – MD-Tech
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 16:16
  • The whole post is dead-on. I was writing my own answer until I realized it just copied everything said here. Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 19:43
  • It's hard to admit, but you are right, I need to work in order to show them that I am not requiring their attention and help when I'm by myself. This might take a bit of work but it's the only suitable way I see for the moment. Thank you for your time, I really appreciate your help.
    – panameera
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 9:53
  • I also need to precise one point, about the leeching thing. I know what you mean but my father has serious health problems, and my mother hasn't been working for 23 years or so now so I doubt she'd be fine to start now. I kind of forgive them for this. Our current situation is temporary and isn't really bothering me (our debt finishes by 2019 and they'll be able to live by themselves just with their retirement pension and a little bit of help from their children). The reason why I mentioned it was just to explain why I couldn't just leave home for the moment.
    – panameera
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 9:56

It's time for you to move out of the house.

It's fine if you decide to set up an automatic deposit to their savings account, but that is your choice.

Make a point of chatting on the phone periodically, but warn them to not be startled or offended if you send them to voice mail if they call you at an inopportune time. If calls get to be chronic, tell them that you will block their calls.

If they want to make a tradition of Sunday Dinner or Saturday barbecue that's ok too. Up to you to decide how much parent you want in your life. If they nag you be blunt: "I don't care to discuss my buying an IROC. My money. My life."

As a parting inspiration: Billy Joel, "My Life"

  • Me leaving the house will definitely mean bankruptcy for them. For the moment I do not earn enough money to help them AND move out. I agree that would be a proper solution if money was not an issue.
    – panameera
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 21:17
  • @panameera "Me leaving the house will definitely mean bankruptcy for them." Then you have some pretty good leverage. Tell them if you don't stop that I'm moving out and you'll have to manage on your own.
    – user7953
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 6:01
  • @panameera Leaving the house doesn't mean you have to stop giving them money. Since you are no longer living there, their expenses are going to be lower, so it doesn't need to be as much money. In addition suggest to them that after you leave they consider taking in a boarder. Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 17:02

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