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Teenage Problems/I feel guilty for moving out?

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I have one more month left with my family, then I am going off to college. Lately I have been losing sleep, because I feel so guilty about moving out. I have helped my parents so much these years, from translating (we are Chinese) to taking them to the hospital, to filling out important papers.  They are in their 50's and 60's and my mother has Parkinson's disease while my father has Diabetes. They work very hard seven days a week and own a restaurant, where the two of them work daily and I have helped out since I was 10. Now that I will be moving to pursue further education, all they will have to help them is my brother (who has not lifted a finger in his life). I am worried that they won't be able to take care of themselves after I am gone.

Answer
Hi there Serena,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me and I hope that I can help.

From what you have described to me it sounds like you have dedicate the majority of your life helping your parents and your family out to the point where you may have even sacrificed having a 'normal' childhood because of the responsibilities that you have had. It is not selfish for you to want to move on in your life and to want something for yourself when you have given so much to others; your education is important and your parents may have worked so hard so that they can ensure that you have an opportunity to progress your education that they, themselves may have not had. Your parents, as mean as it sounds, have been able to lead their lives and make their decisions so far and now it is time for you to make your own. You should not feel guilty or bad or have fear that things will go wrong when you go to College because things probably won't. If your parents have learned anything from what you have taught them by your own independence and maturity, they should understand that this is something that you want to do and that they will have to manage without you. You cannot dedicate your whole life to your parents at the cost of your own, it's not fair and not what they would want. You have done all that you can so far and what needs to happen now is that your brother has to step up to the mark and make some kind of contribution; and without you there, he may not have a choice.

I understand why you may be concerned about leaving your parents, especially as your mother has Parkinson's, but again, this is not something that you have caused nor something that you, yourself can cure by being there. As long as your mother is accessing the healthcare that she needs and has the support of the rest of the family, it should make little difference if you are physically there or not; just as long as you are at the end of the phone.

You cannot be expected to continue to lead your young life at the beckon of your family and although that may sound harsh, you may be in a better situation to help them in the future by going to college and gaining an education that if you decide to stay. Ultimately, this is your choice but ask yourself this question "What have I done for me?" and then make your decision.

I hope that helps.  

Teenage Problems

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Daryl Taylor, BSc (Hons) Psychology, PGDip (pending certification)

Expertise

My expertise covers everything and anything to do with growing up, being a teenager or a young adult or being the parent of one of the pre-described. I can cover issues on identity, sexuality, love, relationships, families, drug/alcohol abuse and anything and everything in between.

Experience

I have volunteered for AllExperts.com for over ten years now, but even before that I was trying to use my experience to help others by working with Advice4teens.co.uk, Teenadviceonline.org and even Lycos and Ask Jeeves. My experience comes from being a teenager primarily but this lead me to work with young people from the age of 13. I have worked front line, face to face and over the telephone, e-mail and webchat for a government department called Connexions UK (aimed at young people aged 13-19); as well as being student counselor in New York, a Peer Mentor, a student teacher and working for my school, college and University to help raise the aspirations of young people. My life has not been easy and I have been through my fair share of issues; so there is little that I haven't been through in reality opposed to just reading it from a book or from my academic studies. I have been featured as a case study as achieving through adversity for a number of magazines and I have featured in a couple of books on both sides of the Atlantic; even though I am UK based.

Organizations
The Albert Kennedy Trust

Publications
Relationships: Cathy Senker, 2012, Raintree The Dean and Chapter Positive Nation GTEN Television Aim Higher

Education/Credentials
BSc(Hons) Psychology Post Graduate Diploma in Multidisciplinary Design Innovation Basic Counselling Skills Effective Listening Skills Mental Health First Aid

Awards and Honors
Outstanding Student achievement Adult learner's Award

Past/Present Clients
Allexperts.com Advice4teensuk.org Teenadviceonline.org lycos.co.uk askjeeves.com Connexions Direct

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