I have an issue with my parents meddling in my personal choices. Let's say they are neutral habits, which means you can't say it's good or bad, like shaking my feet when I'm idle - note that this does not disturb anyone, it's just that they have taken notice of this. There are other things as well (not habit), like work choices.

Now that I'm in my 20s, I would like to scream "just stop it, I'm not a child anymore" whenever they do that. This is a bit delicate stuff because I'm still living with them and have no plan to move out except when I get a new job in another city.

Note that this will only happen because they keep on telling me after I asked them to stop, after giving my reasons for disagreeing with them.

How could I accomplish this effectively, without offending them at the same time? I don't want them to ignore me when I'm actually asking for advice.

I'm in Indonesia, so this is more related to Asian culture. We are somewhat affected by western mindset (US, mainly), so I can apply western logic, but with more care.

  • 1
    @Vylix: are you sure that shaking your feet while you're idle is neutral, and doesn't disturb them? They might find the noise or motion annoying, in which case as well as "meddling" with you, they're expressing a preference over their own living environment. You cannot escape that until you move out. Or you could do it only while they're not present: they can't complain about what they don't know about, and you can be sure that what they don't see isn't disturbing them. Jul 26, 2017 at 13:46
  • @SteveJessop well, in that case I'm not touching anything, but they just happen to see it and told me to stop, so I find it illogical to object on something that doesn't bother anyone, and does not harm me.
    – Vylix
    Jul 26, 2017 at 14:07
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    @Vylix: Unfortunately, it is not a matter of logic whether or not someone finds something annoying when they happen to se it. Some people are annoyed by others fidgeting in their vicinity, and others are not. If you're not able to find out from your parents whether such things annoy them or not, then I don't think you can logically conclude that they do not. Jul 26, 2017 at 14:24
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    @Vylix Picking your nose also doesn't harm them or yourself. In other cultures, nose-blowing in public is considered rude, even though it doesn't harm anyone. Most cultural conventions are like that. I can't stand feet/leg shaking either, it's very annoying and distracting. It's hard to actually get to empathise with other people - you can't just say "I can't see how this could possibly bother anyone!" If you lived in my house and kept doing that, I would keep asking you to stop (or to move out). I don't have to be your parent to do that - that's just adult behaviour :)
    – Luaan
    Jul 26, 2017 at 15:19
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    Having people around that twitch/move limbs constantly (even silently!) is my biggest pet peeve. There are not a lot of things in life that annoy me more lol. So yes, your parents might very well be truly annoyed with this. It's quite common.
    – Summer
    Jul 27, 2017 at 11:12

7 Answers 7


My point of view is a mix of one time rebellious youth and then a parent's point of view....

Your parents will always be your parents, and parenting doesn't end when you come of age. To some degree they're likely to always want what's best for you and sometimes push you toward what they think is "best." If you're in your twenties and still live at home, they probably think it's perfectly fine to continue to parent you in much the same way they did when you were a teenager.

You may need to be independent before asserting your independence. Honestly I learned this the hard way, I moved away from home when I was a teenager and I thought I knew what I was doing... To put it lightly, I really didn't. After many years of learning to be an adult in the school of hard knocks my parents sort of stopped nitpicking.

Looking back on it, after having raised teenage boys myself, I see that it wasn't a matter of me telling them to step back, it was a matter of them watching me handle things on my own. At a point, most parents ease back and treat you more like an adult because you start behaving like an adult. They see you paying your own bills and holding down your own job. They see you starting your own family and they realize that they've done their job pretty well.

Don't tell them that you're an adult, show them.

P.S. Try not to give your parents too hard a time. A lot of the annoying things they do will make a lot more sense if/when you have kids of your own. I know it's cliché, but it's true.

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    "Don't Tell them that you're an adult, show them." Basically this. (I think this one-line sentence needs more emphasize!). I'm also already in my 20s now, and sometimes I told my parents that "I'm already an adult!" but then they just replied, "but your action/thought doesn't look like an adult"... and most of the time, they were correct. On the other hand, sometimes they were "wrong" just because they were raised in older, more traditional way, but this matter could be resolved by discussing it objectively, not arguing it.
    – Andrew T.
    Jul 26, 2017 at 6:13
  • " A lot of the annoying things they do will make a lot more sense if/when you have kids of your own. I know it's cliché, but it's true." I think it's rather a miscommunication/laziness rather than cliche. I think a 21 year old person should be capable of at least intellectually understand why parents do certain things if said parents bother to explain. Even if the explanation is simply "we worry about you/were raised that way/something else".
    – Maurycy
    Aug 21, 2017 at 15:44

In my experience, people tell other people the reasons for disagreeing because they believe the other person still gets a vote. If a complete stranger came to you and said "stop jiggling your foot like that!" (maybe on the bus, or sitting in a coffee shop) would you explain to them why you like to do it? Or would you just kind of smile? When you choose to argue with your parents on these matters, you're telling yourself (and them) that you need their permission to do these things.

There was a saying in California in the 80's and 90's: thank you for sharing. It meant sharing your opinions or views, not your possessions, and the underlying meaning was something like "I want to acknowledge in a positive way that you've gone to some effort to tell me your feelings and to open up to me. That's great. Thanks." But there is no part of it that is "I will be taking your advice" or even "I will not be taking your advice." It just reacted to the person taking the time to say how they feel. So when someone says "Don't tap your foot" you can probably just ignore them, but when someone starts in on "why are you still in that job, you should have taken that job with your cousin" you can smile and say "I am really glad you want the best for me in my career. Thankyou."

You may notice there is nothing in that sentence to argue with. That is kind of the plan. This may not stop them from telling you the same thing over and over but at least you are saying something positive every time, and smiling.

  • First sentence isn't really true? It could be because responding a different way might offend them and/or otherwise make the situation worse. Doesn't mean you actually care about their opinion, just means you want them to realize you have your reasons.
    – user541686
    Jul 29, 2017 at 1:51

Immediately upon reading your post I was sure it was coming from an Asian household. Since you are at this age and they still treat you like a child, there is nothing you can say or do that will make them recognize your adulthood. This is cultural. I say this as a first generation westerner of Indian descent. The best you can do is... the best you can do. As in do the best of which you are capable. Live your life without apology, succeed or fail by your own decisions and definitely move out. And if you decide to have children, remember how this feels and instead be supportive as they grow; and be grateful that you get to witness and shepherd them into functional adulthood. Be that first great rush of wind that allows them to flex their wings. Let the cycle end with you.


I find the best way to communicate something personal to someone is to sit down with them in a non-threatening environment, such as going out for coffee. If you wait until the moment that you become angry and exasperated then your argument may be discounted as over-emotional and inconsiderate.

Your parent[s] deserve[s] your respect, but they may not be aware of your feelings. If they are thoughtful and loving, and if you are honest towards them, I'm going to expect they will listen to you. So book some quality time with them over a drink or meal, and explain that you don't feel you are being treated enough as an adult for your age.

Always approach from a position of mutual love and respect. You want to honour them, and at the same time you want them to understand you. God bless you!


It's not an Asian thing... my mother (half Welsh, half Irish) still does it to me and I've been moved out and married for years. It's a parent thing and nothing you can do will change it. Unfortunately, you have to live with it, if it pushes you to moving out and living independently then you demonstrate more fully that you are an adult. But they will still treat you as a child at times.

It irritates me extremely especially when she goes on and on about something... and I can't even mention her very annoying or self-destructive habits.


The first thing that I thought of when reading your question is this:

You cannot control other people ... they will say what they want. They have many years of developing habits of teaching you and guiding you. They will probably keep doing these things.

You can control how you react. You can politely listen, thank them for their advice, and then do what you want. If you want to be treated like an adult, you have to act like one. I know you are not in the US, but this is what acting like an adult means here:

  • You are responsible: you get up, take care of yourself, get to school and work, all of the things of daily activity ... without asking for or needing help from anyone.
  • You are independent: you pay for what you need. You buy your own food, clothes, transportation, housing, etc. ... without asking for or needing help.
  • You are mature: you can listen to someone share their opinion without feeling the need to change it or argue about it. It is just an opinion. Everyone has them.
  • You are decisive: you make decisions about your life on your own. You may ask advice once in a while, but you decide what is best on your own. You make your own schedule and set your own goals.
  • You care for your family: you do what is needed to take care of your family. If they appreciate help with cooking, cleaning, car repairs, yard work, fixing the roof, babysitting, shopping, transportation, medical care, new glasses, caring for older family ... whatever they need or appreciate ... without expecting anything in return.

If you live in their home, you will not be viewed as independent. Doing the other things on this list will change their view of you, however, but it will take way longer than you want it to. Basically, it will 'feel' like you are changing very quickly and they are not acknowledging it at all. This is true and you cannot change what people think or say. It is what it is.

They will do and say what they want. It is their house, after all. You can react in a different way, though. You can be respectful, listen carefully, and then continue on with your adult life. You do not have to argue for adulthood ... you have to act like it.

This is one of those times when 'actions speak louder than words.' Act your age and you won't have to talk about it anymore.

If you absolutely, obsessively MUST talk about this with them, put it on your calendar for an hour once every 2 months. During that one hour, every 2 months, you can tell them how it makes you feel and ask them to refrain from saying those things.

The rest of the time, act like an adult: respect others' opinions but lead your own life.

This is just my opinion, or course. Feel free to ignore me or tell me why I am wrong. I admit I am not familiar with Asian households. I welcome the chance to become more educated.


If you have parents/a parent like that, my advice is to accept they won't change and learn what you can and can't tell if you wish to avoid those situations.

You may want to look up narcissistic personality disorder and the effects of narcissistic parents on children.

This may or may not apply; I'm not trying to diagnose. This just comes from what I've seen in my own life and lives of friends.

  • It's an okay answer, but please edit it and add proper capitalization, punctuation, spelling, etc.
    – NVZ
    Jul 26, 2017 at 7:17

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