Relationship Connection: My mom micromanages me

Question:

I’m 18 and I still live at home. The problem is that my mom treats me like I am still a little kid. I buy my own clothes. I bought my own car. I have a job and a boyfriend and am very much an adult, but she still tries to tell me what to wear and even gives me a curfew. I am an adult. Why should I have to obey all her rules and live my life her way?

Answer:

Sounds like neither of you are dealing well with your transition to adulthood and leaving the nest. Obviously, you haven’t left the nest yet, but want to be treated as if you have. Let me help you untangle this confusing situation.

First, recognize that you still live at home and there will need to be rules. As long as you live around other people, there will always be rules to help keep order, so it’s not something you’ll be able to escape. If you rent a room in an apartment, there are often rules about cleanliness, sometimes noise curfews, and so on. Your mom has a right to set rules in her own home as long as you are living there. Hopefully you’ll do the same thing someday when you’re a parent.

Having explained that, I also recognize that she’s struggling with how to let you be your own person, which undoubtedly makes it hard to respect anything she asks you to do. This is where you get to grow up and take charge of your life.

If your mom has rules that pertain to your housing (i.e, curfews, cleanliness, boyfriend in your room, etc), then you get to decide if this is the best housing situation for you. Again, anywhere you live, especially if you’re renting or living somewhere for free, will have rules you have to follow. You get to pick what rules you prefer. If your mom’s rules aren’t working for you, then find different housing. If you decide to stay there, then the house rules apply.

Any other preferences your mom may have about your clothing, your choice of boyfriend, or how you spend your money isn’t her business and shouldn’t factor into your housing situation with her. If her opinions are too strong and difficult to live with, then feel free to move out and find a better living situation.

If you choose to stay, there is nothing wrong with trying to work out things with her by asking her to back off in the non-housing areas and allow you to be your own person. If you guys can’t have a successful outcome to this conversation, then, again, you get to choose where you’ll live.

This is an important age for you to look away from home and build your future. You can’t have a rule-free existence, as we all have rules we have to follow, but you can be in charge of picking a living environment you’re willing to live in. You’ll always have to compromise as long as you live with others, so this will be a good opportunity to get some practice working these things out with your family.

Stay connected!

 

Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: geoff@lovingmarriage.com

Twitter: @geoffsteurer

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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5 Comments

  • Observation April 3, 2013 at 8:16 am

    If your mom is from St George, tell her to quit wearing your clothes, to quit flirting with your boyfriend and to act her age. It really is annoying to see the grown women here trying to show how cool they are by trying to dress and act like their teenage daughters.

  • deborah April 3, 2013 at 8:20 am

    i loved this.. too cute.. i wanna know where this mom gets all this energy.. i am toooooo tired with my 18, 19 and 21 year old to fuss about what they are wearing.. OMG.. and i agree.. if her mom is being goofy.. move out.. go give your rent to someone else.. and all that hard earned house cleaning etc.. your mom needs the empty mornings.. the quiet afternoons and uneventive evenings.. to ponder all her mistakes.. teach her a lesson and move out.. let that teach her <3

  • Big Don April 3, 2013 at 11:12 am

    What we have here, “Is a Failure To Communicate!” 😀
    By all means, you and your mom are at an impasse here. If she actually is as controlling as you think she is, then your only option, is to get out on your own. If she really is that bad, trying to talk to her, will be like beating your head against a wall. You know your situation, your own personality, and your mom’s personality.
    But one thing is clear. As long as you are in her house, her rules apply. And that is as it should be. If you are unable to afford to move out, then you must become adult enough to deal with this situation, until you are able to change it.

  • Joanna April 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    It’s funny – I spent so many years trying to get my mom to quit telling me what to do, and now that I’m nearly 40, I’m on the phone with her every day saying “Mom what should I do?”

    • Hatalii April 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      Isn’t it amazing how much smarter our parents become, as we get older!

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