When The Young Want To Fly The Nest!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by Charmed, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    How do you cope?

    My soon to be 18 year old daughter has told me she intends to leave home probably in the next few months! Now this is not a totally 'out of the blue' scenario. I have known for a while that she wanted to 'make the break'. Last year she told me she wanted to go work and live abroad, but didn't really know how to do it. We talked about the possiblities of this and I thought I had persuaded her to give herself a few more years of 'real life' before making any drastic changes! She only left full time education last June. However, since then, she has found herself in a job that she hates, she hates where we live, and her only social life appears to be the internet.

    She has made a very good friend over the internet, and despite my initial reservations, has stayed at her friend's home in East Anglia. Her friend has also visited and stayed with us. This friend's family have given my daughter the opportunity to move there and live with them.

    This situation is difficult for me to understand. If this was someone else's scenario I would question the relationships between the mum and the daughter, but honestly, we have a great relationship and always have had. So I have to presume that my daughter has just had enough of the life she is currently living and wants to broaden her horizons and independance.

    But it still leaves me wondering what I did wrong? Is it normal for children these days to want to leave home so young? When I was her age (I know, violins) it just never entered my head to leave home so young.

    So, how do I handle this without feeling I have in some way, let my daughter down?
  2. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I shouldn't be too worried about it: everybody is different, and there are probably some parents on here concered with the other problem - offspring still on their hands who they'd like to see fly the nest!

    Our daughter was keen to move out as soon as she could, and although things didn't work out exactly as planned, it did ease some of the tesnsion, especially between her and her mum. She currently shares a flat a couple of streets away, giving her both that bit of independence but also the knowledge that we are only round the corner. Our son, on the other hand, is content to stay with us until his planned wedding next year.

    I left home to go into the forces, soon establishing my own flat etc, at the age of 17, although my younger sister was considerably older when she decided to buy her own place.
  3. Big Twigge

    Big Twigge Active Member

    I'd imagine that your daughter just wants to have a go and living in the real world. Personally when I went to university (at 18 ) I was ready for an experience of living away from my parents and having some space. Don't get me wrong, I still go home to stay quite a lot (infact i'm going home today to spend a day with mum tomorrow!) but being away makes me appreciate them a lot more and so we get on much better.

    After being away from home on and off for 2 years I then moved back for a year and it was different (in a good way) as they allowed me to get on with my own thing without asking thousands of questions, which although they did before, they were even more brilliant about.
    I'd imagine your daughter just wants to try and stand on her own two feet a bit. I'd love to be independent, but it's just that mum and dads are so good at looking after me and I'm rubbish at looking after myslef!
    I'm sure your relationship will only flourish - good luck and don't worry about her, she'll be ok :)
  4. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    The only thing I would add is that at some point a parent has to make the decision to trust their childs judgement and if the child believes the time is right (for whatever reason) then the parent should offer the words of encouragement that will make it as easy as possible for the child to grow.

    Make sure, whatever reservations you have, the child leaves on good terms. My father will never forgive himself for the way I left home and in moving out on bad terms I may have learned a lot in a short space of time but will always remember him telling me I wasn't up to the responsibility.

    Have faith, you will both reap the rewards.
  5. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    My parents stuck me on a train at 16 and sent me off to the Royal Navy!
    I'm glad I left home when I did and I always had the confidence to go it alone because my parents gave me that confidence, and I always knew that no matter what happened to me, they would always be there for me and if things did go wrong there was always a bed for me back at home
  6. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    I don't know there Susan... I'd be the same I am certain.
    I'd say here though, the answer is to talk to her but with all the tact, diplomacy and parental experience you can muster so as not to make her feel guilty for so doing.
  7. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    In some ways Kids seem older, younger these days. 18 is certainly old enough to leave home. I did at 16, moved back again about 9 months later when I realised I couldn't actually eat AND pay rent. It's a natural thing to want independence and you should be proud you have raised someone confident enough to explore that independence.

    Enjoy it, you'll soon relish the space and freedom you now have. It's great when my kids come to visit, but it's even nicer to know the 'mess' is only temporary and I'll have my house, bathroom, TV remote and armchair back eventually.
  8. Tracey

    Tracey Member

    I remember leaving home when I was just 18 to do my nurse training, OK it was't a long way from home, but I couldn't wait and had a great time. I never went back to live at home, but have still got all my family and friends at home and have a whole load of new anf lon established friends and also family which I have made in the last 21years.
    I think mum and dad at the time were sad I was leaving but happy that I was going to do something I wanted to do and am still doing.
    I don't really know how I'll feel in 12 years time when my daughter it wanting to leave home!
  9. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    Well, I'm 31 with no children so I may not be the best person to comment, but I'm going to anyway! ;)

    At 18 (or thereabouts - maybe 19?) I left home to go to Uni. I could be wrong, but I suspect that if your daughter had told you that she intends to leave home to go to University you wouldn't be feeling that you had let her down. However, the effect would still be the same - she would be living on her own away from the nest. I guess what I am saying is - all chicks have to fly sometime!
  10. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    I think the best way to put your mind at rest is to speak to your daughter. Tell her how you feel, tell her your fears behind her motives for moving away and let her explain it in her words. I'm sure you'll find it's nothing you did, except bring up a daughter in a manner that gave her the confidence to go and try life for herself.

    That said, I'm dreading my kids moving away, I can't live without 'em, bless 'em.

    They grow up too darned fast. :(
  11. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    DaveR, you're right, if she was leaving to go to University it would be a different kettle of fish altogether! And

    2nd man down - I have spoken to her already, thanks, and she assures me it's not because of anything I've done! She was even concerned about telling me cos she knew how I would feel.

    Like most of you have suggested, and thanks for your responses by the way, I have spoken to her, like I said, we do have a really good, open and honest relationship. But, it just doesn't stop me thinking 'why does she want to leave me' :( .

    However, I will take comfort from some of the posts and believe it is because I have raised her to be confident, mature and independent and not because I'm a horrible person (my husband may disagree ;) ).
  12. horn-girlie

    horn-girlie Member

    being 17 now, i'm off to uni in September and cant wait! its not that i dont like my home/family/area, i just want to go and live my own life somewhere else. I know i'll miss my family when i go though, and no doubt your daughter will miss some of the home comforts to, so she wont be completely out of your life!! if she really wants to leave, i'd say that nothing that you could say would stop her, so i'd make sure she leaves on good terms, knowing that you'll be there for her if things dont turn out as she'd of liked!
  13. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    My kids are 3 and 1 so I've a while to get to grips with this. I don't know you or your daughter and I can only speak from my memory of being 18, so if I'm talking rubbish feel free to ignore me, but here goes -

    I always got on well with my mum and dad but (and I've never told them this) there comes a point for a lot of people where living with your parents severely does your head in. I was lucky in that I went to uni, so apart from holidays I effectively left home at 18. Even then, when I was home for the summer the first few weeks were fab but I found myself chafing a bit after a month. I went straight into a job at the other end of the country from uni and I know my mum was briefly a bit put out that I didn't seem to want to go back "home" to live, but I needed my independence. Plus it meant I got spoiled rotten when I visited;)

    It's absolutely normal, especially if she's got friends who have gone off to uni and no real social circle in the area. You haven't done anything wrong, and if it was you she had a problem with she wouldn't be talking to you about leaving, she'd have left!

    The only way you can let your daughter down, really, is not to be supportive. If you try to pressure her into staying because it will upset you if she leaves, she may resent that pressure for years. Talk it through, tell her your feelings and your fears and if she still wants to go, let her, on the understanding that you'll be there if/when she needs you. In many ways, she's very lucky to have this opportunity to taste independence without all the stress (rent, bills, etc) that usually comes with it.

    From my experience, you only really realise what your parents do for you and mean to you when you move away. With luck and a bit of patience on your part you may find she appreciates you more once she's had a taste of independence.

    PS If you found this helpful can you return the favour by advising me how to get me 3 year old to eat any vegetable product other than ketchup and how to convince my 1 year old that 5am is not a sutable time to rise in the morning?;)
  14. Jamie

    Jamie Member

    I too left home to go to uni and have made it perfectly clear to my parents that my intention is not to move home at the end of it, even if I live nextdoor. I want the freedom that having your own home brings, not least because you can spread all the junk you've accumulated over five rooms rather than one! And when it comes to having a social life, if you want some friends round for a beer and a pizza, or to bring them all home at 3am after a night out, then you've got no-one to answer to but yourself. (Not that I'm suggesting I intend to be doing this every night of the week!)

    I think it's also a good idea to move out while you are young so that you've got time to mess it up! If it doesn't go as well as planned at 18, your parents will almost undoubtedly take you back... If it all goes wrong at 30, I should imagine they'll tell you to sort yourself out! Wanting to leave home is not borne of a desire to escape your parents entirely, but of a desire to stand on your own two feet with their support.

    Don't feel you've let her down because she wants to leave home- just make her aware that she's not burning her bridges when she does. As long as she knows she can come home without feeling she's failed to become more independent, the transition will be all the more easy. Everyone needs something to fall back on, and having the security of a supportive family home, can only help to bolster the success of the move because of the confidence it instills. Telling her not to go is entirely counterproductive, so part on good terms and make her aware, without it sounding like you have no faith in her, that she can come home if or when she needs to.

    Personally, I can't wait, although I'm terrified. Having no idea where I'll be working, or whether I'll know a single person when I get there adds to the pressures of living alone (entirely alone, as opposed to with housemates!). The fact that she can do it in a safe home with a friend at least means she wont have the extra strains of learning about a new place/job/home all by herself.

    If you already have a close relationship, I think a move away can only help it. You'll both come to realise and appreciate all the more how great a role you play in eachothers lives, and because of this, and without the daily grind ('what time d'u call this?!' 'You're not going out like that!!') any arguments you might have had will stop.

    Well, my dinner's burning now (no mother here to rescue it from the oven for me!) so I'll just say good luck!!
  15. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    My daughter will be 18 in September, and while she hasn't actually said so yet, I strongly suspect that she is hoping to be able to move out.

    My biggest concern is that she doesn't understand the financial realities of being on her own. I've been doing sessions with her trying to get her to understand how to make and keep to a budget, the importance of paying things like rent on time, etc.

    Both of my children have been on notice for years that it's their decision when to actually leave home, however, once they are 18, if they are living in my house, they will either be working and paying me fair market value rent or be full-time students. Ditto if they leave and then want to come back (barring some sort of disaster, of course).
  16. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    I left home at 18 for University and never moved back afterwards. It depends how rushed this decision is but I would say the last thing you should do is tell her not to go!! let her make her own choices and make she knows that if anything doesn't work out how she hopes she can come home :biggrin: If she is moving in with the parents of her friend I would sit down with her and suggest she makes a plan about how much rent etc she will pay them as she really needs to start off on the right foot with that. Also suggest she doesn't leave until she has a job to go to and that way can financially pay her own way.
  17. michellegarbutt

    michellegarbutt Supporting Member

    There is an old saying

    "Parents can give their children 2 things. One is roots the other is wings"

    Let her go but make sure she knows you will back her up and at the same time if things don't work out as she hopes she can come home at any time
  18. flower girl

    flower girl Member

    i'm 18 and am wanting to move out, and i can strongly say that i do not feel like my parents have let me down in any way at all. I just feel like the time is right. i expect this is how your daughter is feeling aswell.
  19. julestools

    julestools Active Member

    I left home at 18 to go to college and then to work away but by 21 I was home again at the farm (complete with a broken leg)(another one). I finally left home when I got married at 33.
    Mother and Father have always got room for us (kids, wives, ex-wives and ex-husbands) to crash if necessary and when I had my accident they took over the children for six weeks. In return we help out with the gardens and other chores.
    All we can hope is that our children know that there is always room for them at home (long time before my kids leave though. I might have changed my mind by then :tongue: )


  20. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    Strange what 'sets us off'!

    Well, it's now official. My daughter has left home! :cry:

    After hiring a Renault V2 yesterday morning we loaded all her bedroom into the van and I drove us the 160 miles or so down to Thetford, her new home. I was, surprisingly, in control of my emotions. I kept thinking, anytime now I'm going to get really emotional and start 'blubbering' (possibly another Yorkshire expression?). But no, I seemed to be on a mission! In fact, although my daughter had warned me not to start crying in front of the people she will now be living with, I kept seeing her look at me with confusion in her eyes. "Why is mum not getting upset?", "how come she's not crying?", were the questions I could see in her eyes after we had unloaded and were sat having a cup of coffee. I couldn't actually understand it myself. Am I really that uncaring, after all, I was devestated when she first mentioned leaving, she is still only 17yrs old. Driving back, now without Viki, I couldn't understand why I didn't appear more upset. Then it hit me! I was mad! Why? Why? I kept asking myself. What is it that makes her want to leave her family and go live with another family?

    I just have to accept that she was 'ready' to try it on her own without her mum. After all, we have always had a close and loving relationship (not without the usual screaming at each other now and then scenarios). When I arrived back home I was still bemused at how unemotional I was feeling. Even when I saw my son had 'painted' my daughter's bedroom ready to move in!

    So did I have a cry? You bet! And what was it that eventually broke down my armour? Frozen cabbage! You can laugh, but when I was making tea and I opened the freezer and saw the bag of frozen cabbage my daughter loves, well, I couldn't stop!

    Anyway, glad to say I now don't feel like this unemotional, hard mum, that I thought I must be! :)

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