June 20, 2019


Hey Nikki!

My mom won’t back off and give me some space! I try my best to be polite about it, but she can be really annoying sometimes. I know she cares about me, but I need a little me time. And privacy! When I’m reading a really good mystery book, she just barges into my room without knocking! What can I do?

A Little Privacy Please!

Hi A Little Privacy Please,

Oh, parents! They mean well. At least, it sounds like your mom does. She wants to make sure you know she’s there for you. Not everyone has a mom like that!

I’m not trying to make you feel guilty. It sounds like you know your mom is just trying to help. And it’s still understandable for you to want some space! Sometimes even the most supportive parent can be a little annoying.

I think you should keep politely asking for more privacy. It’s totally fair! But you’re more likely to get it if you offer a compromise. Your mom also needs time with you, and she wants to keep communication open to make sure you’re doing okay.
So, I think a family meeting would be good. Or just a talk between you and your mom, but it might be less awkward if you make this issue about all family members and don’t single your mom out. You guys could come up with a family agreement about personal space, quiet time, and family time. Some things on that agreement might include:

  1. Knocking on the door: This is a basic respect for space that kids should give to adults AND adults should give to kids. (Exception: any situation where they’re worried you’re in danger.)
  2. Door signs: You would have to promise not to overuse this, but you could make a sign to hang on your door when you really need privacy. You could get agreements from family members that if the sign is up, they’ll ONLY interrupt (by KNOCKING) when it’s absolutely necessary they talk to you. And everyone else should be allowed to use the signs too, if they’d like them.
  3. Talk time: Set a special time when you and your mom can chat. She wants to know how you’re doing! It can be awkward and annoying, but SO MANY of the letters I get could be answered with the same advice: Talk to your parents. It’s great that you have a parent who WANTS to talk to you. Keep that communication open!

I’m sure it might feel awkward to tell your mom this stuff, but it sounds like she really cares and wants to know how you’re feeling. So, she’s more likely to listen to you and respect how you feel. Be honest with her and make sure she knows you’re not ignoring her, and I thing it’ll work out.

How do you handle it when you need space from your family members? Tell us in the comments!