I’m 30 and I need out

This teacher is more than ready to leave home. But how to tell mom and dad? Our elder scripts a dialogue that may help soften the blow.

Dear EWC:

I am 30 and I have a career in education. I live at home because I went to grad school to become a teacher. My mom suggested that I live with them because I could save money. Over the years, I have gone back and forth about buying or renting. I am ready to move out. I have close to 30K in my account. My school district confirmed no furloughs or pay cuts this year due to COVID-19.

My concern is my folks not being supportive. I want to move out for my mental health. My parents told me they are going to Florida when I go back to work and said I can stay here. I don’t think they understand I want out. I found an apartment today and I shared the pictures and layout with my friends. We all like it. Rent is reasonable and it is close to my job. I want to tell my parents without a lecture or an argument. I don’t know how.

Mr. Bill replies:

Hi, and thanks for writing to us and sharing your story—and your concern. You are asking a very relevant question with your letter. As a teacher, you will be involved in many situations with parents and children. Depending on your level of teaching, if you are at the high school level you may actually have to listen and advise a student on the exact same issue you are raising. At any level, though, it is important for you to know and understand your relationship with your folks so that you can be helpful to others.

You say you are ready to move out, that it is for your mental health. At your age, and given this comment, for sure you should be on your own. You have a nice balance in your account and you should build on that for the future. You do not have to adjust to a pay cut or a furlough, so your income is secure. You have found a nice, affordable apartment, one that is close to your work. Everything looks in order and I agree with you. You should go.
You are concerned about your parent’s reaction. I get that, but at age 30, I would think and hope that they are supportive. Almost all parents know that their children will eventually leave home, and most do so much earlier. Now, how to tell them? Here’s one idea:

“Mom, Dad, I have been here for a long time and can’t thank you enough for letting me crash while I finished school. Eventually though, I need to be on my own, establishing myself on my own, and settling in to a place of my own. As much as I appreciate the offer to stay while you are in Florida, I found an apartment close to school and have put money down to hold it. My plan is to move in by …” That’s one way to break the news. What your folks do or say after is their decision. They may argue, they may try and convince you to change your mind. If so, listen, don’t react, and hold firm.

Eventually you may have to just sigh and say that we disagree on this. “I’m sorry. I love you and will be around. I can come over and check on the house regularly and I’ll take of it, but I won’t be housesitting.” As I said, you can only control what you do and say, and you can’t control how others react or what they do and say—parents included!

Good luck, and let me know how it goes.


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