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I lived with my parents for thirty-four years before I moved out of their house with my wife and kids. I received quite a few criticisms for making this decision as this is a counter-culture move in where I live. As the eldest son, I am expected to stay with my parents forever. But as a father, I know detaching myself from them will help me become a better leader of my own family.
Moving out of your parents’ house is essential to your maturity. It fosters your capability to be independent and self-sufficient. This enables you to create the life that you want. Adults who rely on their parents for security and provision are still children. Adulthood starts when you learn to take care of yourself.
I am sure some people have successfully become adults while living with their parents. These are rare cases. You must be adept at setting healthy boundaries to succeed at being independent while cohabiting with mom and dad. But this is a much more complex setup than simply moving out. It has been three years since I left home. Read on if you want to know the answers to these questions:
Disclaimer: the content of this post is based on the author’s opinions.
Is It Okay To Leave your parents?
Are you considering moving out of your parents’ house? I’m sure there are tons of things happening inside your head right now. You may think leaving your parents is a form of rebellion or selfishness. But as long as you have the right reasons and your parents are fit to care for themselves, you are making a very mature decision.
Leaving our parents so we can stand on our own is a loving act. We depart to relieve them of their obligations toward us and let them enjoy their season as empty nesters. This will enable them to pursue dreams that have been side-tracked due to parenthood. Like you, they also gain freedom.
But be ready. This will be a painful process for both you and your parents. I cried day and night for about a week after I moved out. Here are some mental and emotional issues you guys might experience after you leave:
- Separation Anxiety
- Emotional Distress
- Loss Of Purpose
- Worry And Anxiety
For me, it took roughly three weeks before I was able to adjust. There sure will be times when you will miss your parents and wish you were still living with them. You might even be tempted to return home after a month of separation. Hang in there. One day you will see the impact of your decision on your life.
What do you gain from moving out?
So far, moving out of my parents’ house has been the most excruciating transition I’ve been through. But it was also the most rewarding. Here are the fruits I enjoyed after I left home:
In his book Boundaries (which I highly recommend you to read), Dr. Henry Cloud says we cannot forge our own values, beliefs, and convictions if we do not leave home. We won’t know our true identity because chances are we’re only mimicking the ideas of our family. To discover who we really are, we must first uncover who we aren’t.
Michael Jackson became Michael Jackson when he left Jackson 5. Justin Timberlake became Justin Timberlake when he left N’Sync. I’m sorry for the illustration, but I cannot think of a better way to simplify the concept of detachment to find your identity.
Drafting our family’s mission statement was the first goal my wife and I had after we moved. It is a foundational project that would determine our family’s identity and direction. Follow these links to see our mission, vision, core values, and process:
We will never be kings and queens in our parents’ house. It may not be a big deal when you are single. But this plays a significant role in marriage, especially when you already have kids. The potency of our authority as parents gets diluted when we are not the ruler of the household. Children tend to be confused about who they should obey more, us or their grandparents.
As long as we live with our parents, there will be unending clashes in values, beliefs, and methods. Our parents will always be our parents, and they sure will have their comments on our marriage and parenting. They may even bypass the rules we already established with our kids, which affects our reputation as parents.
We observed this vividly with our children. Before we moved, we often heard the phrase “But grandma or grandpa says…” whenever we tell them no. Today when we say no, it’s “no.” No more buts. It’s now clear to them who are the authorities of the house.
I don’t know about you. But living with your parents makes it challenging to be intimate with your spouse. Men, I’m sure you know what I am talking about. We are restricted in expressing our love physically and verbally. We can’t simply hug and kiss our wives while making pancakes in the morning. Or say “I love you” during laundry. It’s awkward. We always consider our parents might see or hear us.
In another definition of intimacy, I also became closer to my parents. Our relationship has grown to another level. Perhaps due to the separation, we now value each other’s time and presence. I never experienced receiving a call from mom and dad to simply catch up with life. At the same time, I have also never been this excited to talk with them.
Funny, but I seem to know my parents better now than when I was still living with them. I learned more about their struggles, pains, and dreams. We never have had these deep conversations before.
Being independent and self-sufficient doesn’t mean we live in a vacuum. We need a community to thrive. And that’s what we receive when we move out of our parents’ house. We can now invite over as many friends as we want to. Or visit them and go home according to our own time. There is no more curfew. Every month, we invite at least one family to our house. Wives prepare food, kids play together, and the husbands converse over coffee.
Moreover, transferring to another neighborhood will enable us to meet new people and be involved in their communities. We may have lost the comfort, security, and provision we receive from our parents, but we now become part of a larger network where we look after each other’s backs. Mom and dad can still be part of the network, but they are no longer the primary source. Detaching from our parents is like a branch being cut off from the trunk and planted directly on the soil. We get sustenance straight from Earth.
Your story begins after you move out of your parents’ house. It’s the kind of story you can own. Before this, your testimony won’t be as potent since you live under the shadow of mom and dad. Once again, adults who do not stand on their own are still kids. People will always be suspicious about your achievements when they know you still depend on your parents. Your success will always be connected to them.
Two men got a new car. One worked hard and has been saving his money for the past five years. The other one received it as a gift from his parents. Who has a better testimony? For the second time, I’m sorry for the terrible example. But I hope you got the point. I have driven two cars in my life. Both were from my parents. I hope one day I can tell you the story of how I bought my first car.
Can moving improve your life?
Moving out of your parents’ house per se will not improve your life. But it gives you the liberty to do so. How your life turns out after you leave home is your personal responsibility. You are given freedom. It’s up to you how you want to use that freedom. Improve your life or make it worse? It’s your call.
More From The Learning Dad Blog
- Is It Hard To Move Out Of Your Parents’ House?
- The Struggle To Leave And Cleave
- When Should You Move Out Of Your Parents’ House?
- Is It Worth Moving Out Of Your Parents’ House?
- What Does Moving Out Teach You?
- Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and John Townsend
- Boundaries For Leaders by Dr. Henry Cloud
- Boundaries In Marriage by Dr. Henry Cloud and John Townsend