Getting some privacy

Suddenly my parents are really involved in my life again. How can I get some privacy?

Advice columnist and relationship expert Matt Whyman answers:

It's easy to feel as if you're losing your independence at this time. Suddenly your situation has changed just as you were getting to grips with more responsibilities, and that's when frustrations can build.

Set ground rules

It might sometimes feel like your parents' have too much involvement in your care, but don't lose sight of the fact that they have your best interests at heart. At the same time, you need to let them know what's on your mind. Just do so in a way that is considerate of their feelings. 

When you're in a consultation with your doctor or nurse, for example, it might be hard to ask questions about relationships and sex with your parents in the room, but you can set some ground rules. One way to keep everyone informed, while giving you some privacy, is to start each consultation on your own and then invite your parents to join you towards the end. If you ask a health professional to keep a conversation and your medical records private, they should respect this. Knowing this might help you feel more confident about talking to your nurse, therapist or doctor.

Talk to your parents

Begin by recognising your parents' efforts to support you, and then discuss how you can move forward in a way you're all comfortable with. There might be other areas of your life where you feel the need for some space. So long as you address the situation constructively, the chances are they'll work with you to create the right environment.

It might take a while to work out, but by being up front and respectful of each other's needs you'll strike a balance that works for everyone.

Try to be sensitive

Social worker Simon Darby has this advice: "Sometimes parents feel useless because they have little control over how you are feeling or your treatment. You can ask them to turn down the parenting dial. You're an adult, so you have the right to privacy, but you may need to be sensitive to your parents' needs, too."

Bethany Young, a young people's social worker, adds: "Be open and honest with your parents. It can really help them to know how they can best support you. Like it or not, in their eyes you're their little boy/girl, and they just want to look after you. Try thanking them for what they're doing that's helpful, but explain that you also need some space. Set boundaries that will work for all of you."

Content added: November 2015
Review due: November 2017