How to be more independent?


I’m in my sophomore year in college, and my brother is a freshman (same college). We both live at home right now, and it’s driving us both crazy, especially my brother. How can we convince our parents to treat us like adults? We’re both responsible, working enough hours to pay the bills, getting scholarships, etc.

But we have to call them when we get to a place, and again when we’re leaving. And Dad’s constantly making up proclaimations that we have to follow, and changing his mind, and Mom of course has to break the news to us and stand by Dad. It’s a bunch of little things that are adding up.

Dad keeps asking me when my hours are, even though they’re on the family calendar. What time I’m going to classes. Etc. It got to so that I just say I “have” to be at school at 7 am; I’m not about to tell him that gives me three hours to study before my first class. Also, I have to ask permission to stay later, if I want to be in a group. Also, he wasn’t keen on me being in a pro life group.

He also keeps changing his mind. “You’re adults now, so we can’t tell you what to do anymore” and he goes on to do just that. He tells us one set of rules one week, then “forgets” it was his idea the next week and change it.

In short, he likes micro-managing. Recently he blew up because I didn’t have the information he wanted about the extra scholarships I won–nobody had the information yet at that point.

My brother is planning on living in a dorm next school year, and I really would like to join him, but right now I’m tied to staying at home because I “share” my car with Dad, since he pays half the car payment. (I pay the other half and all the insurance). If I moved to a dorm, I’d lose my car, and it’s impossible in my city to travel by bus, so I’d have to give up my job as well.

So, I would appreciate any tips on how to help parents understand our need for independence, and to give us a bit of free rein, so we can go places and do things other college students do, like meet up at a restaurant and be in groups and things like that. I don’t mind doing my part at home. I just don’t like it when they nag and nit-pick and constantly question you and tell you what to do, and then say the next minutes, “you’re an adult, I can’t tell you what to do anymore, it’s up to you.” (a hollow proclaimation.) Thanks.


Live in a dorm and get a job closer to school. Seriously, this is only going to become more difficult as you get further into your schooling. Late study and project groups will become a necessity if they haven’t already, your group partners are not going to be sympathetic when a fellow adult tells them “sorry, I can’t, my parents won’t let me”, and if you’re not willing to take your parents at their word when they tell you that you’re an adult and it’s up to you, you need to move out.


Just make sure that Mom and Dad are both calling you and your brother every time they go to work, store, dinner, theatre, Knights of Columbus meeting, etc. And make sure they comply.
Maybe Dad and Mom won’t be so eager to hear from you all the time.
Alternatively, you could overload them with information. Call from the restroom between classes, from the chem lab, from the Student Union, from the library. Make sure that Dad gets the calls at his place of employment.
Young people planning on marriage are supposed to take a Church designated course on marriage. The course should include teaching them that their jobs as parents are to make themselves obsolete. They need to hear from the Church before marriage that their children must be turned into adults by the civil age of majority. That’s what child rearing is supposed to do.
There is a symbolism in the baptismal rite where the parents place the child on the altar to symbolize that they are giving the child over to God. Baptism means that the child is no longer mine but God’s. Somehow a lot of parents can’t bring themselves to let go. Very hard on the children who are struggling to be adults in their own right.



Just take whatever applies.

It might ease your life if you do these things:

  1. Never argue with or lecture your parents.

  2. Solve as many problems as you can without their assistance.
    (i.e. Where do get this? How do I fix this? How do you deal with someone like this?)

  3. Always let them know you appreciate what they do for you.

  4. Do plenty of things for them that aren’t required chores.

  5. Never use that irritated “I know” tone of voice, even when they remind you for the thousandth time.

  6. Show a lot of self discipline in your routine, diet, speech, and behavior.

  7. Realize that you will be more fully an adult (regardless of your age or maturity) when you live in your own place and don’t rely on your parents for financial assistance or much anything else except love. That is when they stop telling you what to do, and they just give you advice now and then.

  8. As long as you are still dependant on your parents for your standard of living, handle your dealings with patience, humility, and obedience. Even when they are being unreasonable, overbearing, or inconsistent.

  9. Or do what I did, get a job, move out, pay your own bills, pay for your education, marry someone wonderful, and have children. As soon as I packed my bags and left for good, I became an adult, even though I made mistakes and needed help a couple times.

Hope this helps.:slight_smile:


You need to move out & get your own place with a roommate or in a dorm. You are being treated like a young child. My son is in Jr High & I can’t imagine still controlling every move he makes. It is hard on parents to let our children grow up, but someone has to cut those apron strings. You work & can get scholorships & Finacial Aide so move to the dorm & get a bike. You will enjoy your college life so much more !!! Best luck to you!


*thank you * everybody, for all your helpful ideas! I’m hoping to save up enough money this year to try to be more independent next year :slight_smile: And thanks for all the encouragement, too. I feel better about living on my own now.

And I will try to bear with my parents patiently :o no matter how difficult it gets…


Although your parents seem a bit irrational, there is a kernel here that resonates with me.

I went away to college at 17. No car, so visits home were only when I could get a ride-- and with football, dorm parties, studying, etc, that wasn’t until Thanksgiving the first year!

I didn’t have to call with any regularity, ask permission for things etc.

My younger sibling went to a local university and lived at home. She had to call, had curfew, etc.

The difference? One major difference was that she was at home, where my parents would worry when she wasn’t in yet (did she have a car wreck, did something happen???) I was away and they didn’t know where I was or what I was doing. I suppose they could go to sleep thinking I was in my dorm room.

I was out of sight, out of mind. She was right there, and they wouldn’t sleep well when she was out. It’s not like they automatically stop worrying just because you turn 18.

I think most of it is because you are physically living with them. So, put up with it, but try to lay some ground rules too.


Letting people you live with know where you are is smart if only for safety issues and for common cortesy. If you feel they are being too restrictive then look for a roommate and move into a dorm or small apartment. I think you should put up with if for awhile though and save your money for school. Living out on you own even on a college campus isn’t easy. I know it’s hard to put up with the parental issues but think of it this way. It’s only for a short time and it will be over before you know it. Discuss the issue with you parents and tell them how you feel. Maybe they will let up a little. :thumbsup:


Great points and that hit me too. I had a similar discussion with my 17 year old recently. I expect him to notify us of where he is, who he’s with, and when he’ll be home is simply common courtesy so I won’t worry when he’s not home. My husband and I also inform each other of our whereabouts. When I was in college, my roommates and I did the same for each other too.

I also agree with 1ke that some of the specific details of how the op’s parents handle this sound a bit odd. Some people micro-manage, and it sounds like her dad is one of those people. Parents have annoying faults and habits too. If/when the op moves away and lives with roomates, those roomates will also have other annoying faults and habits. Part of growing up and living life is coping with the annoying faults and habits of others. Think of these little lessons in life as preparation for marriage and parenting. :wink:


Any priest will tell you something like this:::

The home belongs to your parents…Their rules and they can change them when they want to. (unless you have them write down the rules and everyone sign them including you)

The vehicle belongs to your parents…Their rules and they can change them when they want to. (unless you have them write down the rules and everyone sign them including you)

Their house…so house rules…

Writing down the rules really does work. They can’t change their minds and you can’t get mad at them if you know the rules ahead of time.

We’ve had our house rules for 10 years…in writing…all my children signed off on the copy that I keep in my safe… Works great with things like… Don’t slam the door or you will lose your door for 1 month…Needless to say we only had one door slammed after that…lol

If you can’t live with their rules then get your own place…


Accept dire poverty (like many college students have done before you) and move out. Become totally independent of your parents in all respects except love.

Do it kindly. Your parents will be devastated, so be nice to them. Hopefully they will eventually become reconciled to the loss of their babies, and they might even bring food to your new place.

But don’t let your parents stop you. Just do it. You’ll survive.

For the next several years, eat the Staple Diet of all college students: Ramen Noodles! A quarter a meal. Full of sodium and bad as heck for your health, but it will keep you alive until you earn your degree and get a paying job. It will also motivate you to take big course loads so that you finish your degree on time!

Good luck! Have fun! You’ll make it.


This is a good idea. Holly, if you can get your parents to agree this might make the year easier for your and your brother.


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