Of all the major parenting milestones, having your child moving out of home is one of the hardest. If it involves moving to the city from a regional or rural area, it can feel particularly daunting.
Despite the bravado your child may be demonstrating, most children will appreciate your support as they make their transition to independence – as long as you don’t completely take over.
When should a child move out of home?
If they haven’t broached the subject with you directly, chances are they’ve already been dreaming about freedom from parental rules. They’ve probably been chatting to their high school friends about what it might be like to find a share house. While they can imagine all the benefits of making their own decisions, chances are they haven’t thought through the practicalities of moving out of your house and making their own home.
If your child is old enough to attend university, they’re also ready to explore independent living, even if you’re not quite ready for them to leave. If you live farther away from their university choice than a normal commute of 30-45 minutes, it’s time to have a conversation with them about the pros and cons of leaving home.
Preparing your child for a move to the city
You may want to make all the plans for your child, and it’s likely to be a lot easier if you do. You can help your child develop an important life skill by encouraging them to assess the best options and make decisions about moving away. Give them resources to review and outline a process for making a short list of possible living arrangements. This should include things like:
- Transportation requirements
- Security considerations
- Deposits required to move in
- Proximity to shops
- Proximity to university
- Proximity to social activities and night-life
A parent’s role in decision-making for living away from home
By having your child do their own investigation, they’ll begin to form realistic expectations about what it’s like to be a student living away from home. If they’ve been imagining living in the style of reality TV share houses, those dreams will quickly fade and you won’t have to be the bad guy.
Let them know you want to be involved in final decisions and they shouldn’t sign contracts or make any kind of commitment before discussing with you. If you’re funding their new living arrangements, it’s a completely reasonable request.
You will have to accept they’ll make decisions you won’t always agree with. Share your opinions and be objective in your reasons. Making mistakes is part of learning, but you’ll want them to know they can come to you for advice and support if their situation changes or doesn’t play out the way they hoped.
Accommodation options for university students moving to the city
Students have a variety of accommodation options when moving to the city to attend university. This might include living on campus at Murdoch University Village or taking out a lease on an off-campus privately-owned property. They’ll need to consider what appeals to them most:
- Living alone
- Sharing with friends who are also moving to the city
- Sharing with other students they haven’t met
- Sharing with people who aren’t studying
- Staying with family members or family friends who live in Perth
It’s never too early to start having the conversation with your child about the practicalities of moving out of home to attend university, especially if that means going to a new city or community. The more advance planning your child can do, the more time they have to contemplate what they want and get used to the idea of moving away. It will give you plenty of time to have important conversations and guide them on their path to independence.
How much parental support is too much? Read more about how to support your child without smothering them.