“Dear Dee” Advice – Family feuds? – Parents: “don’t move out!”

By Donna Rustigian Mac, “Dear Dee” Advice Columnist

Hello—it’s Dee…with your communication advice for the week…so you can create healthy human connections…. that means trusted relationships in your personal and professional life.

Have you listened to the Q&A on audio? Well, here it is! Let me know what you think!

Dear Dee-Episode 8

Well hello—it’s Dee…with your communication advice for the week…so you can speak your truth, be clear, honest, forthright and influential. Let’s create healthy human connections….and trusted relationships in your personal and professional life.  

Our first question today:

Dear Dee,

I recently graduated college and I was offered a job that would require me to move far from home. The problem is my parents want me to find a job close to them. I have had a desire to move far away for a while now. How do I communicate with them that I want to make the move and take the job without them being upset?



Dear J.S.

I’m excited for you!  You’re at the stage in your game when you can build your own great life. You get to be the pilot as you lead yourself into the future. This is something your parents need to understand and become accustomed to.

So…a couple of thoughts about your parents. It’s often hard for parents when their kids move far away so when you speak with them, be empathetic. Odds are, they’re going to miss you. The best way to tell them you’ll be healthy and safe is to give them a little proof.

Your parents will probably be most concerned with where you’re going to live and how you’re going to earn a living. So, lay it out for them. They’re probably emotional so counter their emotions with facts. Lay out information about your job, the space you’ll be living in and how you’re going to manage the details of life like food and transportation. You might want to create a small spreadsheet of your income and expenses. When you share this with them, you are not seeking their permission, you’re trying to calm their concerns.

This exercise will be good for you too because when young people begin their adult lives and careers, they want to make sure they’re self-sufficient, economically and otherwise. So examine that spreadsheet and make sure you have a good debt to income ratio.

Then tell your parents that “mastering the arts” of laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, paying bills and cleaning is good for every young adult.  (Hopefully, you had to do some of this while growing up.)  And exploring the world can really enhance the rest of your life.

Once you get settled, make sure you invite your parents for a visit.

Our next question…

Dear Dee,

How do you suggest dealing with long term fights in families?


Dear C.E.,

Oh, I wish I knew how old you are and exactly what you’re dealing with. Considering I don’t, here are just a few suggestions.

First, make sure you’re safe. If there’s physical abuse or hitting going on, be brave and tell a trusted adult. Perhaps a teacher or coach.

If there’s a lot of yelling, you can protect yourself by trying not to get tangled up in it. Let your family members yell and don’t try to stop them. Instead, make sure you stay healthy by exercising and eating right and trying to get enough sleep. This might sound pretty simple…and like it doesn’t matter, but it does. Living in a home where there are long term fights can be very hard on people. So, stay healthy.

Finally, don’t let whatever your family is fighting about make you feel like you did something wrong. It’s easy to take what is going on around you – personally and, odds are, the fight has nothing to do with you. Know that.

And try to spend time people who laugh more than fight.

Donna Rustigian Mac is the Founder and Chief People Officer at iVoice Communication, dedicated to creating healthy human connections through high level effective communication.

Donna is an executive communication coach workforce trainer and motivational speaker with more than 3 decades of experience.

Donna is also the author of Guide to a Richer Life, Know Your Worth, Find Your Voice and Speak Your Truth and the creator of The Six Pillars of Effective Communication.

Donna’s undergraduate degree is in Liberal Arts and Humanities. She has also studied psychology at Lesley University, with Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence), and is a certified mindfulness teacher with continuing studies at Brown University’s Center for Mindfulness.

During her career, Donna has partnered with Clear Channel Communication and The Speech Improvement Company, the oldest speech communication company in the United States. Clients include Merrill Lynch, Cambridge Associates, The Massachusetts Banker’s Association, CVS Health and many others.

In addition to her work, Donna is an avid runner, skier, gardener and the mother of two kind, strong and successful millennials who have the great ability to communicate!