our everyday life

How to Deal With a Teenager Who Threatens to Move Out?

by Cynthia Measom, studioD

When your teen threatens to move out, all sorts of disturbing scenarios can spring into your mind. After all, as a parent, it's your job to keep your child safe. Unfortunately, it's a parent's protective nature that can drive a teen to rebel and voice these kinds of threats. While your teen's ultimate goal is probably just to scare you into meeting his demands, giving in is never a good idea. Instead, learn how to stand your ground and let your teen know his threats aren't as powerful as he thinks they are.

Stay completely silent when your teen makes his threat to move out. Later, your teen may reflect on what he said -- since you chose not to reply to him -- and realize that moving out wouldn't be a good decision, according to Dr. Patrick C. Friman, director of Clinical Services at Father Flanagan's Boys' Home (Boys Town) and a clinical professor at the University of Nebraska School of Medicine

If ignoring her is not an option, due to your teen badgering you to continue the conversation or proceeding to take action to move out, say calmly, "I don't want you to move out, but you are going to have to follow my rules while you live here." This statement shows your teen that you're unwilling to give in to her threats and reminds her that she must respect your rules while she's living in your home.

Follow up with a statement that demonstrates your love and your commitment to doing what's best for your teenager: "I love you, and I am doing what I believe is best for you." It's important that your teen understands that your decisions are motivated by your dedication as a loving and responsible parent -- not by your unwillingness to compromise.

Deflection is another option to ignoring or responding to your teen's threat.Tell your teen that you and he can discuss the issue he's upset about at another time. Give him a specific time that you are willing to have the conversation with him and follow through with your promise. When discussing the issue, stand firm on your decision to have him respect your rules.


  • Even if your teen is 18 or 19, and considered an adult, make it clear that she must follow the rules of your household while she lives there. If your child argues that she's 18 and you can't tell her what to do, respond that while you can't tell her what to do outside of your home, if she's visiting or living in your home, she must follow the rules you've set for her.
  • .


  • Always stay calm and never threaten your teen when responding to his threat to move out. Becoming angry and confrontational can cause additional negative issues between you and your child.

About the Author

Based in Texas, Cynthia Measom has been writing various parenting, business and finance and education articles since 2011. Her articles have appeared on websites such as The Bump and Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images