Kids Moving Out Of Parents’ House

My mother and I were having this conversation.

Kenny: “How much is the rent for a simple house in Kuching?”
Mom: “Not too sure. Why?”
“Well, I do have to move out from this house eventually don’t I?”
“What?” She replied in a surprised tone.
I looked at my mom, wondering why she reacted that way. “You’re not expecting me to stay in this house and depend on you forever, do you?”
My mom looked at me, obviously disappointed. “You wanted to move out?”
“Mom, in Australia kids move out of their parents’ house when they turn 18.”
She drew a heavy sigh. “Actually, I was hoping that you and your brother will stay together in this house. Then we can share everything together.” She said with such a sad tone. I felt an invisible needle pierced through my heart.
“You’re not expecting us to still stay in this house after we’re married, do you?”
“Why not? This is a good house, in a perfectly good location. The best location in Kuching!”
“Mom, if I continued to live with you well into my adulthood, that would be like me still depending on your cooking when I should be independant and you should start spending money and enjoy life. I’m not abandoning you, just living in a place of my own.”
“Well, if you and your brother move out, who’s going to take care of me when I grow old?” A second needle pierced through my heart. “What’s so bad about your family and your brother’s family and me living in the same house? That way, we can all take care of each others’ kids. You don’t want your kids to be raised by babysitters do you? You don’t know how many of them are snakes nowadays. And how are you going to afford living on your own? You don’t have money to burn. Renting would be like giving your money to strangers. You might as well live in this house and give it to me as ‘rent’. Bla bla bla bla…”

I’m not too sure what the Malaysian-Chinese tradition on this issue is. (Heh, sometimes I wonder if I’m still Malaysian-Chinese). I’m pretty sure at the very least, kids live with their parents until they after their marriage. After that they move in with their partners.
Their elderly parents would live in the same house, eventually selling it to move in with one of their sons, or give it to the eldest son and continue living in the same house.
Family Potrait

I grew up in a typical Malaysian-Chinese family. Three generations living under the same roof.

Only a very small proportion of Malaysian-Chinese parents actually move into retirement homes. Leaving your parents in retirement homes is considered by many as being disrespectful to your parents. If you even dare to suggest that option to them, they would bark at your asking you where your conscience lies. Crying, asking if you want your own children to treat you that way when you grow old.
Maybe its to do with that confusingly confusing Confucian values that Malaysian-Chineses are brought up with.
Rule #1 is to always respect your parents, meaning to live with them if they ask you to. In fact I think about the only way adult Malaysian-Chinese don’t live with their parents before their marriage is if they don’t live in the same city as their parents.
Its not the same the way I knew it in Perth.
In Aussie, people laugh at you if you tell them that you’re still living with your parents at 22 years old, as if you’re still a baby who needs mom to personally breastfeed you.

The reason why I wish I’m still be a baby sometimes. Well, I’m working towards that goal. Not with my mother though. 🙂

Their culture dictates that children move out when they turn 18. In practice, this usually extends to about 22 years old. After high school, University, an obligatory 1-year backpacking trip around the world, and a stable job… a typical Aussie would probably be 22 years old by then – which allows them to afford renting their own place and live away from their parents.
The odd thing is that its not usually the kids who want to move out. Its the Aussie parents who threaten their kids to move out. One of my uni mates told me that his parents had to pack all his items and leave them out the front door to convince him that he is not welcome back home unless he finds his own place to stay.
Australian parents do it because they want their kids to be independent physically and financially from them. Some parents would then refurbish the empty room and rent it to overseas students to earn that extra income. When they grow old and their house becomes too big for them, they move into retirement village where all the old people hang out, just like Grandpa Simpson!
Abe Simpson

Kenny, 86 years old.

It goes without saying that I love and respect my parents. That said, I’m not sure if and when I start my own family, that I would take up the option of staying with my parents AND my brother’s family.
Ideally, I’d like to move out to a rented place of my own before my marriage, whilst saving money to buy a house of my own. I’d still visit my parents and brother of course, but I want to live on my own. Sure, its a waste of money compared to all the luxuries I enjoy right now. Sure its going to be a chore trying to organise my own breakfast, lunch and dinner for myself.
But you know what? Its not like something I’ve never done before. I think I’ll appreciate the freedom and independance of bachelorhood before my marriage. And hopefully I can do that without being labelled a disrespectful son of a mother.
But I doubt so. 🙂

37 Replies to “Kids Moving Out Of Parents’ House”

  1. I think the common thing in Msia is, if you’re in the same state you live with your parents. If you move out, it’s because you’re working in another state.
    Don’t forget, if you move out, a few years later you’d end up doing the whole “mom move in with me” thing, where you have to ask her many times so she can tell her friends “It’s not because I’m too old, it’s because he insisted on it so many times I feel bad for him.”
    That’s what it’s been like with all the older folks I’ve seen anyway

  2. I agree with your views on this.
    Even in the UK it is perfectly normal to kick kids out. The parents there unlike ours here understand the importance of being independent.
    And its also normal for them to later to move their parents to a retirement home (well their retirement homes there can be considered 5* hotels when compared to Malaysia’s).
    Another interesting point you raised (although only in passing) is the 1-year backpacking. You suggest that to your Chinese-Malaysian parent and they will be furious. Work, get married and settle down and have child would be their response!
    Btw Kenny, what is your thought on marriage?

  3. lainie: shiat, that’s true.. my mum and dad ‘asked’ my grandparents to move in with us because they’re always sick and stuff.. then my grandfather got all egoistical and said, “i want my independence”. But that didn’t stop them from telling their mah jong kakis about how my dad’s inviting them over.. with a sigh. Wahaha. But we really cannot afford to have them living with us. Imagine the amount of naggings.. *closes ears*
    kenny..:) Don’t worry, you won’t be as kesian as Grandpa Simpson! Your sense of humour will keep your granchildren by your side! 🙂 I bet you’ll be a funky old granddaddy! and i think you should only move out when Nicole decides to come back from Australia. In the mean time, you save alot if you live at home.(can buy bigger house next time). And you have to look after both your parents too at the moment. But your thinking may be influenced by your exposure to the Australian culture.

  4. Come to think of it, my mum was chasing me out of the house and ask me not to come back as much as possible ever since I started studying in MMU. My dad say they can live on their own and no need to depend on me. 😀 Haha! Oh well, hopefully they are not serious about this.
    Yaloh~! At your age now, and Nicole not with you, why not spend more time with your family and save some living cost for your own future like what Jayelle said. 😉 Its a good idea afterall. Besides, you are in Malaysia and nobody gonna laugh at you, right?

  5. well i guess we would still want our freedom and by staying with the parents, the freedom isnt quite there yet. if i do move back i would want to have my own place too. wouldnt wanna rely on my parents forever.
    what the. my parents gave me no money to survive here also now… no pocket money no nothing.
    a good training though. so i wont be that arrogant rich bastards who live with their parents, who spend their parents $ although they have their own earning which is not enough as they spend too much on having fun, drive their parents car and act all that but not knowing nothing counts as everything is parents own. not theirs.
    grr.. u know what i meant =)
    i would say move out. true parents are not there forever but u gotta think of your future wife =p. it isnt the 60s or 70s anymore where most daughter in law tolerate mother in laws.

  6. *places hand on kenny’s shoulder*
    i’m half tempted to let my mum read this entry so she knows that im not messed up in my head or being ‘kacang lupakan kulit’ for wanting to move out and get a place of my own after graduation.
    ……. but then again she might probably go “but guys different mar!” =.=

  7. jayelle: What’s the bet they actually would want to do it, complaints or not? I’d be scared of living alone and getting injured w/o anyone to help out if I was old.

  8. yeah…that’s the aussie way, mate. even my bf’s aunt here wants to move to a retirement village herself….she says..why should they depend on their children to take care of them?
    no wonder the usual conversation starter usually goes, how’s it going? doing anything tonight?
    if i’m still staying with my parents..i’d probably sound like a moron by answering the same thing everyday: having dinner at home with my parents..hahahahaaha…

  9. lainie: true…i can’t imagine my parents growing old without me. yeah, but for now my grandparents still have each other. at least one of them knows how to use the handphone. we’ll be less worried when my grandmother learns to use my granddad’s handphone when he has another one of his respiratory attacks. whatever that was.

  10. Yeah, same issue here. But mine isn’t as major as yours. I’m still studying, and though my house isn’t THAT far from campus [30 mins drive], I still prefer to live on my own.
    I believe I fared well in Melaka, last time. Empty bird nest syndrome, I guess.

  11. wow..u’re totally different…my bf instead, wants to live with his parents after he’s financially independent or even married. reason? it’s not about depending on his parents, but respecting his parents’ wish and the obligation of taking care them….i dono…tat’s his idea. kinda haf support him but sumtimes….u noe lah. i prefer an independent life.think bout ur love relationship in the future!

  12. waa.. someone preparing for a married life huh… renting your own place with Mrs. Kenny Sia-aa? 😀 remember to send your red card over ks.
    speaking of marraige Justin is planing to get married in 9th sept this year.. so get your big ang pow ready. 😉

  13. From my view point as a parent, it’s alright if you move out but find a place very near your mum place maybe a block away woild be very good. But then again if I were you I wouldn’t do it now until maybe your gf is back and you guys want to stay together. Right now might not be the right decision to move out , consider your dad situation. Maybe you should save now and get a house later then invite your mum to come and live with you. Thats what I did, my mum stays with me most of the time but she does goes to my younger brother house in KL once in awhile. As you know if mum stays with you and your wife is in the same house , you got to do the balanceing act.Sometimes headache,LOL

  14. And this is why I intend to stay over here with miles and miles of oceans and continents between my and my parents.
    Until they start to accept that I am independent and do not need them controlling me.
    Then I’ll move back.
    That sounds so unfilial of me 🙁

  15. Lainie, sounds like you hit the nail right on the head! My late grandparents have the habit of not saying exactly what they want, and we constantly have to play the guessing game with them. Must be a test to see how much their kids care about them. Heh. I reckon old people should keep blogs, makes it easier for ppl understand what’s going through their heads.
    Guy, you wanted to move out too?
    Jon, I think my youth would be wasted if I don’t spend it on travelling around Europe by foot and staying in dinghy backpacker hotels. 🙂 You can’t do that anymore when you grow old, and have kids and a wife to bring along. Thoughts on marriage? Not now, perhaps when I turn 28-30. Its something I want to do eventually. I want to have kids, I want to have my own family. 🙂
    Jolene, Jason & thQuah, obviously with my father’s condition I’m not moving out right now! My thinking is definitely influenced by the Australian culture, but I doubt that living away from your parents is a bad and disrespectful thing to do. Its more to do with having my own personal space and independance: the ability to turn on your music up loud, hold parties, living the same life when we did we’re studying away from home, etc without having to endure my parents’ or girlfriend’s nagging. But aiyaa… I know this is Malaysia. Culture/thinking is a bit different lah.
    Chrissie, yeah definitely agree with you on that one. I give my parents a cut of my salary as ‘rent’ right now, and they pay for the bills, household expenses, the food, the car I’m driving, etc. But somehow its different to true financial independance where you pay for all those things on your own, and they pay for what they use from their own retirement fund.
    hsin-the-ee & Silencers, *looks up the kamus for ‘kacang lupakan kulit’* ooooooooohhhh! Independance is an addictive thing. Once you got used to it, its hard to go back without it. 😉
    kherying, staying with my parents, I need ‘permission’ to go out to have dinner with my friends and I have to come back before 12 midnight. How sad is that? Back in perth, none of the gang wants to come to my place for late night chats and all that because of my family members. So we trashed jacky teo’s place. 🙂
    Tess, i’m not thinking about love relationship when you said you prefer an independant life. 😉 I’m thinking something else naughtier.
    rodney, thanks for the heads up.
    hsin-the-yuek, parents will always be controlling. unfortunately. it their way of showing concern and our source of rebellion. heh heh heh.
    wingz, wart? WART?

  16. Haha, agreed. I’m only 15, but I’m already determined not to stay with my parents after 20 something. We’re staying in Selangor, but my parents will be moving to Malacca once I’m done with my U. Since KL has better opportunities job wise(plus it’s a whole lot more fun), I’ll probably find a place for myself. 🙂 Ooh, the fun of it!

  17. I left my family at the age of 7 and has been staying on my own since then….its been 19 years, and sometimes i wish I could go back to stay with my parents and my siblings as one big happy family…..

  18. thai boxing girl, leaving your family at the age of 7 is definitely far too young. I can’t begin to imagine how you felt when that occured. I’m really sorry to hear that and I hope that you may one day re-unite with your family.
    pope, heh. NOTHING! btw, making fun of dead ppl ain’t funny. 😐
    luzzio, before you think its all fun and games, read thai boxing girl‘s comment.

  19. I think that if your not getting along with you mother then the right thing to do is to move out because trust me I know what it is like trying to live with some you can not get along with!ITS HARD!

  20. I agree with ur opinion that once u’ve tasted freedom, u’re addicted.
    I’ve been thinking of getting my own place, but definitely still in the same town lar, that is if I work here……
    Have calculated, actually buying an apartment with a loan of 15-20 years is somewhat cheaper than renting. At least apartments in some places like those in MJC, but then again, it’s not the best environment to live in.
    Was away in uni for 4 years and live away from parents….miss the independence……when move back, home politics and parents nagging sometimes drive me up the wall……
    Not that I dun love my family, just that sometimes it’s really annoying…….
    Hai~ but since I dun have a job and permanent income yet, cant do much abt it……..
    Unless I move to KL and find a job…….then muahahaha…….
    Anyway, you’ve got a nice blog here…..keep it up.
    All the best.

  21. hey all i have just moved out of the family home and it is very daunting but i feel that when i have a taste for freedom i wont want to go back i need to feel independent and have a life without my parents always there to fall back on it is the best thing ever to happen to me i just hope i last the distance and don’t end up moving back home .GOOD LUCK TO ANYONE WHO IS THINKING OF IT IT TAKES ALOT OF WORK all the best x x x

  22. Im 26 and am still living with my mom.. the reason i am still living with my mom is because my Dad died when i was 21.. and i was still living here then because back then i had some drug and alchohol problems which i have since then straightened out . .. but anyways.. im still here living with my mother.. Who always acts like i should move out.. and then when i say im going to move out . she sais.. well you should wait and pay off some of your bills first.. which means no you should stay and mow the yard and snowblow the driveway and do the same for my mother that lives 2 houses down the street.. i dont know whos going to do this stuff for them when im gone.. but at this point i dont think i give a shit.. living here is nuts. when i get home on a weekday at 930 becuase i was out with some friends after work.. i get this where were you from her.
    just tonight i got it as a matter of fact. and i said ya know if i was dead you would know it . and she sais well how do you know that . blahhh .. well if im dead im sure shel find out aventually and still wont be able to do much about it.. my job is kind of dangerous becuase i am a tree climber – Arborist is the technical term.. but living here is making me crazy and i dont like it and as much as i want to stay and help my mom and her mom who lives down the street i can not do it anymore.. i think they are both crazy and need to find out a way to live there lives on there own .. my mom did not apprechiate my DAd while he was alive and does not apprechiate me only bitches at me . and her mothers the same way.. i really need to get out of here. and its going to happen soon.. dont know if anyone has had anything simmalar happen to them.. but if they ever do dont get involved.
    yes it is your family and you do love them.. but dont give up your life because of it.. when i get a phone call the first thing i get when im off is WHO WAS THAT
    and thats some bullshit. im 26 not 12.. sometimes i get to the point with her that i just want to beat her .. And that is wrong becuase i have never and will never hit a woman.. but i know how my Dad used to feel if nothing else becuase he always got the same treatment . but im going to stop talking about this online becuase i dont know any of you people but sometimes i just have to let some frustration out .

  23. I have a different kind of problem, my step sons wont work, wont help out around the house, lie, steal, and are generally disrespectful to me, my husband, each other, and anyone that doesnt wanna kiss their butts. One is 23 and the other is 18. the youngest is at least trying to find work and has completed school, but the oldest is just not even tryin to do anything constructive with his life. It is maddening, to say the least, to see their dad continue to “disable” them by coddling them, and paying for whatever they want, doing for them whatever they want, and allowing them to be little jerks to him and me, I love my husband very much, but am done raising kids, whatever they havent learned by now, to dang bad, they need to go. But regrettably it looks as though it will be me to go as I am unable to continue in this retched environment, the way my husband raised these two is why America is in the state it is, with drugs, violence and teen pregnancy out of control and nobody wanting to take responsibility for anything they themselves do or create.

  24. The delemma of the two generations, isn’t it. I think if the society has a good system that takes care of the old folks then people won’t try to cling on to their yourng ones. The Malaysian three generations under one roof is ideal but simply not practical. Changes is real and inevitable. I was reserching on retirement comminities in Malaysia and I stmbled onto your page. Keep your good sense of humor, Kenny.

  25. i was reading all of this blogs and i couldn’t stop reading them, im about to check on a hause there renting today, but i was so nervouse about it since if i get the hause i would move from my perents hause but as i kept reading and reading i realized that, i have a steady job and i can afford the bills, but for me is the feeling of leaving your perents, thats the feeling that is kind of making it hard for me to move. i know i cant live with them all of my life, but im kind of scared like when you go and get your first job and you don’t know what to expect, its just like that. hopefully ill get my apartment, and keep writting, i liked this blog

  26. I’m 15, in melbourne, and my parents are prepared that I’m gonna move out to an apartment nearby the uni (I hopefully would be accepted in).
    I think if I was still in Msia, parents would never have suggested me leaving. I think it’s just what the majority are doing. In Melbourne, its as though once you reach uni, OUT YOU GO!

  27. haha my mom is disgusted when she hears about white kids moving out when they go to college, when the college is near home.
    She wont let my brother move out, she uses her cooking and money as a hostage.

  28. makes us all, I’m 17 now and been looking forward to leaving away from my parent. I dont wanna just move out and rent apartment but I wanna go away for college and from then move on. But she tries to keep me from doing that by making sure I dont go 2 any college more than 2 blocks away!

  29. Moving out need an amount of money especially if you are staying alone. All those rent and general fees will make you think of why you want to stay outside sometimes but some people prefer independent.

  30. I was at a dinner table with an old couple recently. They had two sons and a number of grandkids. What they did was build a huge multi story bungalow, sorta like three houses stacked on top of each other. One floor for the the old couple, another for the first sons family and another for the 2nd sons family. And they all lived together happily. 🙂
    Its convenient for the two sons since both husband and wife are working, the grandparents can take care of the little kids. Also the grandparents don’t feel lonely or abandoned. And all have their own kitchens and living rooms so they don’t have to see each other everyday id they don’t feel like it.
    This seems to be the trend these days for people who can afford it. I have a younger brother and we will likely be married to our future wives in the next decade. Chances are, if we can afford it, we will do the same thing.
    Matter of fact, i was raised by my grandma and mom’s younger sister while my folks were out working all day 🙂
    And also, its just wonderful having three mother figures in the house. Plus my cousins to play with everyday. Its such a happy house 😀 I want the same thing for my kids.

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