It's a pretty lucky thing to have folks who are willing to bail you out of life's little emergencies. When it comes time to buy a car, or figure out how the heck taxes work, they are there to guide you through — and that's amazing. But as the years go by, their help can become a little too... expected, often to the point where you really need to rely less on your parents.
That's often the case when you find yourself turning to them them for every little thing. Need groceries? Stop on by to raid the fridge. Need help with rent? Pick up the phone. Of course this is the perk of being part of a family, and there's nothing wrong with having a close relationship with your mom and dad. But there is a big difference between a healthy relationship, and one that is kind of clingy and dependent.
If this sounds like you, don't feel bad. Not only is the economy making complete autonomy almost impossible, but it can be difficult to snap out of the whole kid/parent relationship. "There's so much out here in this world and there is no set roadmap to get to where you're supposed to be," says NYC-based life coach Taylor Carrington, in an interview with Bustle. "So out of habit we lean on what's familiar and comfortable to escape — our parents."
It's normal, but not always a good idea. Eventually, we all have to support ourselves financially and emotionally. "It's what adulting is all about," Carrington says. Sound like something you need more of in your life? Then check out the tips below for ways to rely a bit less on your parents, and become a more independent adult.
1. Don't Pick Up The Phone
Try this experiment: the next time something goes wrong — your car breaks down, you can't find your credit card, whatever — try to handle the situation without calling your parents. "I understand that parents have a way of making the worst situations seem better, but you must get to a point in life where they aren't the first person you call, or even call at all," Carrington says. Showing yourself that you can get out of tough spots (all by your lonesome) will definitely help you feel more independent.
2. Give Yourself Some Space
Like I said, there is a difference between a healthy close relationship, and one that is clingy and reliant. If you feel like yours is too clingy, create some distance for a while. Call less often, handle a few problems solo, and see how it feels. You may notice that you can do way more on your own than you previously thought.
3. Hustle For More $$$
When it comes to money, there's getting extra help from your folks, and then there's being lazy. If you are sitting back and having things handed to you, it may be time to try a bit harder on the whole job front. "I remember thinking that I was 25 and that I should have it all together," Carrington says. "This was the catalyst for me starting my own coaching business and going to school to become a certified life coach." In other words, you should be doing whatever it takes to save more money, get those jobs, and take care of your own damn self.
4. Set Up A Loan System
OK, so let's say one month you're truly, hopelessly strapped for cash and your parents come to the rescue. It'll be a huge relief, for sure. But try not to treat it as free money. "If you do need to borrow money, treat it as a loan and draw out a contract and schedule of payments for paying them back," Carrington suggests. "Treat it as if it was a credit card or any other bill where you are required to make monthly payments for the loan." This will teach you some responsibility, and probably leave your parents super impressed.
5. Learn How To Rein In Your Emotions
Your mom and dad are probably pretty darn good at offering up calming words of wisdom, as well as sage advice. But there is something to be said for learning how to "self soothe." This is the method of calming yourself down, and not calling your mom in a panic. To do it, you'll need to a) not call your mom in a panic, and b) take some time to figure out what calms and supports you and makes you happy, according to Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. on PsychCentral.com. Once you do, you'll be able to chill out without getting others involved, and that's just about adult as it gets.
6. Make Lots Of Mistakes
When you really think about, the root cause of your dependence on your 'rents probably has something to do with not trusting yourself. If that's the case, remind yourself that it's OK to try things on your own, and it's even more OK to make mistakes. "I think the 20s are all about learning and making mistakes. So make as many as you can, learn as much as you can, and grow," Carrington says. The more opportunities you give yourself to do so, the better.
7. Surround Yourself With Other Independent People
As a bonafide grown up, you'll want to be able to rely on yourself. But since no one can go it totally alone, you'll also want to build yourself a support system. One way to do it is by surrounding yourself with like-minded people (hint: like other friends who want to become more adult). "This will help you form a support group and will eliminate your need to call on your parents 24/7," Carrington says. It really can be as simple as that.
8. Make Your Own Decisions
Try not to give into the knee-jerk reaction of involving your parents in everything, including the process that is decision making. Even if it's a difficult one, give yourself time to weigh the pros and cons all by yourself. Then, if it's still necessary, your parents can chime in. Soon, though, you'll be picking and choosing and navigating life like a pro.
9. Check Your Habits
After relying on your mom and dad for your whole life, you might not even realize what a habit it's become. Without thinking twice you ask for advice, or their opinion, or help with your bills. But take a second and analyze whether you really need these things, or if you're just asking for them out of habit. If it's the latter, try to come to terms with your habits, and break any bad ones if necessary.
10. Be OK With Feeling Uncomfortable
As Carrington says, most of us grow up with a certain standard of living. So when you're on your own, sans full fridge and expendable income, it can send you running for help. Part of becoming an adult, however, means dealing with these inconveniences for a while as you make plans to correct them (i.e., getting a job, saving money, etc.) Dealing with the discomfort is sort of like a badge of honor as you become an adult. If you can withstand it, you'll soon learn how to stand on your own two feet.
11. Make A Plan For The Future
It may sound overwhelming, but do try to make a plan for the future. Set some goals, create a vision, and make it happen. And, as Carrington suggests, let our mom and dad know. "Communicate with your parents to tell them your goals and to make sure they support you and hold you accountable," she says. That way, you can all be in this together as you work hard to become more independent.
Because, let's be honest — your parents want you to be an adult, too. And remember, you can do it. Once you separate yourselves a bit, you'll find that being a adult isn't as hard as you once thought. I promise.
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