my mom doesn’t want me to grow up

dear heather,

My mom doesn’t want me to grow up. When I mention my future goals such as moving out on my own, she tells me she’ll do everything she possibly can to stop me. I know she’s my mom and wants me to be her little girl forever, but I have to be independent. What do you think I should do?

This question is a little hard to answer without knowing how old you are. If you’re 12 or 13, and talking to your mom about when you’re going to move out, I could understand her going on about you being her little girl. Granted, she shouldn’t be telling you she’d do anything to keep you at home, but still, the sentiment is understandable. However, if you’re 16 or older, you’re beginning to take on adult responsibilities, like driving, and she should be able to understand that you are growing and maturing.

The biggest problem here is not that your mom wants you to be her “little girl” (you can still be your parent’s little girl when you’re old and gray, and they’re older and grayer), but that she refuses to accept the fact that you are getting older. My advice to you would be to talk to her about it, in a calm and reasonable manner, on a day when you both have plenty of time to talk. (i.e., you’re not rushing out the door to school, she’s not busy making dinner, etc.) Start by telling her you know how much she loves and cares for you, but it concerns you when she makes statements about refusing to let you grow up. Explain that growing up in inevitable, and even if she “tries to stop you” it’s simply not going to work. People grow up. Everyone does.

I’d be very careful how you word that last part, making sure it’s not too aggressive, because the last thing you want to start is a screaming match about how you’re “immature.” Your mom is making these statements because she is worried about you being off on your own, and because she will miss you terribly when you leave home. So try to remember that when you gently tell her the facts.

Hope this helps!

take care,
heather

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