Dear Therapist: I want to move abroad but my family won't allow it

Making sense of the world we inhabit

By Prateeksha Shetty

Published: Thu 3 Feb 2022, 11:33 PM

I want to move abroad but my family thinks I cannot live by myself. We keep having arguments about this but there’s no solution and I don’t know how to prove otherwise. — Name Withheld

Dear Writer, you have not mentioned how young (or old) you are or hinted at financial dependence that can make parental approval crucial. I understand how hard it can be to persuade your parents to allow you to live the life that you envision for yourself. This can be trickier since you have never lived on your own, elsewhere. You can try moving to another city or living apart within the country, if that’s something they are open to. You may also include other family members with some experience of living abroad or choose countries where there are relatives or friends, which may soothe your parents.

However, I wonder if there are other concerns or issues that they have, perhaps the reason quoted may not necessarily be the true reason. Some parents struggle when their adult offspring shows signs of independence or developing identity that they believe leaves them out. Insecurities may be masked as concern as that is more acceptable.

If your parents have in the past been quite strict in their parenting, this may be yet another instance where they are not considering your wishes; in which case, change is very unlikely. You may not be able to convince someone who is known for their inflexibility. Therefore, down the line, you will have to decide how important this is for you and decide to cave in or move out to fulfil your desires (and live with the repercussions).

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