How To Support Your Teen in Flying the Coop

It’s true that some teens are well on their way at 18. They don’t need any help from their parents in leaving home. They’re ready, excited, and eager to get on with their adulthood.


However, older teens who have struggled with depression, anxiety, bipolar, or addiction may find it difficult to leave home. They might have developed a dependency upon their parents, especially if parents have stayed close to their child in order to protect them or support them in managing their mental illness. However, when it comes time for a teen to leave home, it might be difficult to let go.


Of course, some 18-year-olds choose to stay home for a reason. They may want to rely upon the financial and emotional support of their parents during their first few years after high school. At the same time, if you have a teen who is ready to leave but sensitive to losing the comforts of home, there are some ways that parents can support their teen in leaving home, especially if that’s what their teen wants.


  1. Talk about it. Parents and teens can talk about the differences between living at home and moving out. You might discuss what it has been like at home and what it might be like after a teen leaves. You might also discuss what your teen will need in order to feel safe and comfortable while living on his or her own.
  2. Bring some comforts of home to a teen’s new living arrangement. If you know where your child is going, you can facilitate the transition by driving your child to his or her college dorm or new apartment. You might also bring some of the items in your teen’s room to his or her new home. If you’re teen moves out but it close to home, you can make plans to visit once a month or at least on a regular basis.
  3. Make a plan for psychological safety. If your teen has had challenges with depression, anxiety, or another form of mental illness, then you might also prepare for periods of mental illness when you’re teen is no longer living at home. You might call around for a new psychologist or psychiatrist in the neighborhood where your teen is living. You might also look for the nearest hospital, addiction treatment center (if you’re teen has struggled with addiction in the past), or support group.
  4. Talk with other parents whose teens are leaving home. Lastly, you can talk with other parents of teens with mental illness. Discover what they are doing to facilitate the transition from home to the “real world”.


Certainly, there are always are a large number of graduates who go away to college. The experience of leaving home can bring both highs and lows. It has some pros and cons, even if college is just a few hours away. The highs of leaving home for a teen might be finally feeling his or her independence! A teen who is 18 or older doesn’t have to abide by the rules and limitations that parents have placed on them for so many years. They have the opportunity to make their own choices, stay out as late as they want, eat what they want, and spend time with friends that their parents might not like. Independence and autonomy have finally arrived for an older teen!  Teens are likely going to want to experience the freedom of leaving home, and their mental illness doesn’t have to get in the way! In fact, with enough support, preparation, and fortitude, teens can live the life they want!