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?
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.
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.
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