To the 21-Year-Old Living at Home with Controlling Parents


Hey, 21-year-old, I see you struggling over there. I see your frustration and your disappointment about how things have been going living with your parents. You thought things were going to be different between you and them when you became an adult. You imagined you’d live a life full of freedom and they’d show you more respect, and now you’re not seeing any of that in your current life.

I heard you loud and clear when you said, “They’re so controlling!”

I understand why you’re asking, “I’m an adult. Why are they always telling me what to do?”

But let me ask you something, and please don’t get defensive: Are you acting like an adult? Are you taking responsibility for your own life? Are you running your own day-to-day roles and responsibilities so that your parents can see that you’ve got this all under control?


I know it’s frustrating to see that your parents don’t treat you as an adult, but do you act like one? Or do you still act like a teenager who needs to be supervised? Do you throw fits, or shirk responsibilities? Do you chip in around the house, or leave your dirty dishes for your parents to clean up?

I’ll be candid. If I lived at home with my parents, I don’t think I would act like an adult either. Even visiting my parents can leave me feeling like I’m twelve years old and nobody listens to me. Being an adult who lives at home can cause you to regress; to act like a younger age. It happens to lots of folks. You’re not the only one.

But you know what? Complaining about it, or saying it’s not fair, is not going to make this better.

You know what will make things better? Do you know what you can start to do right now that can get things moving toward a better, more respectful relationship between you and your parents? You can start taking responsibility for yourself.

Try getting yourself up in the morning without anyone coming to check on you.

Try taking your own meds, and even take it step further and pick up your prescription from the pharmacy yourself.

Try scheduling your own appointments, and solving your own problems.

Cook a meal for the family. Buy some groceries.

Get your oil changed without being reminded.

Fill out those forms without asking your parents for help.

Pay your own way now and then.

Try taking full responsibility. Try being accountable. Try taking charge.

And then, if you do all of those things and your parents still cannot manage to treat you like the adult that you have become, it may be time to move out and move on. Because if you can conduct yourself like and adult and your parents are then unable to give you the credit and respect you deserve, then living with them is not the right choice anymore.

Posted on February 12, 2018 .