Lifelines: Anne Chilton offers advice on stay-at-home children

Boomerang blues

I live at home with my mum, which – although I am now 24 and this wasn’t what I’d planned – is a necessity as I was made redundant and money is tight. Moving back to the family home seemed the best solution, and normally I get on well with mum. But now she wants to come out with me and my mates. She seems to see me as a route into a new social life. I don’t want to upset her but it’s getting a bit much.

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While your mother is now seeing you as a friend, for you she is still your mum. You might be happy to spend time with her and enjoy her company, but you still want her to be mum-like rather than your best pal. It sounds as though she doesn’t have much chance for socialising so sees you as an easy option. It will sound difficult, but I wonder if you have thought of having a talk with her. Tell her how much you like her company but that she’s cramping your style when you are with your friends. Maybe suggest a couple of things you would like to do with her, just the two of you.

Also find out what she would like to do for herself and encourage her to do that; perhaps go along with her to some events and help her find her own social life. At the moment she probably isn’t thinking about what’s right for her and you, she’s just seeing this as an opportunity to go out.

When we are younger, relationships between parents and children are pretty simple. But as we get older, we all have to adapt and change and make our relationships different, both in the ways we relate to each other and the things we do together.

LOAN RANGER

I am fed up of living at home but don’t earn enough to get a place of my own. I asked my dad if he would lend me the money for a deposit on a flat but he said only if I saved enough to match what he was giving me. His argument was that I seemed to have enough money to go out most nights, so by giving up some of that I could soon save up enough for a deposit. I think this is unfair.

They have a big house and earn far more than me and it wouldn’t hurt them to help me out a bit. They still expect me to help out with things around the house. What can I do? I don’t want to be stuck living at home forever.

I am guessing that you want more independence and to see yourself as a proper grown-up, with your own flat and living the life you want to live. We all want that when we are young, and I wonder if what your dad is really saying is that, if those are the things you want, you need to start acting like a grown-up and take some responsibility for getting them.

Being independent is just that: we become independent of our parents and no longer rely on them to provide everything for us. As hard as it may seem, your dad is trying to teach you a very valuable lesson. In the adult world, you often have to give up something to gain what you want.

Anne Chilton is joint head of professional 
practice at Relationships Scotland

Relationships Scotland (www.relationships-scotland.org.uk)