7 Tips for Dealing with Reluctant Parents Before Moving Abroad

Sharing the news with your parents that you’ll be moving abroad, is usually not an easy task for anyone. When your parents meet you with a thousand questions, strong emotions, and disbelief, it’s easy to get caught up in their reaction instead of focusing on why you decided to move abroad in the first place. Going to travel the world for a year? Becoming an expat in your favorite culture? Maybe you found the perfect TEFL certification course for a year abroad, and you plan to stay there after it ends (do your parents know that part?). No matter why you’ve decided to pick up your life and head somewhere new, these six tips and tricks will help you!

7) Don’t Wait to Share the News

Yes, wait to mention your idea until after you have a full-fledged plan, but don’t wait until the week before to drop the news and expect them to get on board that fast. Give them some time to process their own feelings about the news that you’re moving abroad, because really, they deserve to have their own opinions and feelings on the matter just like you do. Waiting until the last minute will likely cause them to feel angry and that they were left in the dark on purpose. Translation: you will likely get zero support.


6) Answer Their Questions

It’s overwhelming to consider your parents’ reaction about moving abroad. You might be asking yourself, how many questions will they ask me? What research should I have in front of me when I share the news? Do they even know where the country I want to move is located? (You’d be surprised how many parents won’t know.) Try to remember that many of their questions are rooted in fear of the unknown, so really take this opportunity to soothe their worries. Be as patient as you can, and prepare yourself as best you can with points to back up your reasoning for choosing that particular country.

5) Avoid Discussing the Country’s Statistics Until They Bring it Up

It’s almost unavoidable that your parents will have heard something negative about the country you’ve chosen, whether that is through the news or history, but don’t lead in your discussion with the dangers. Try to keep the conversation positive and upbeat, and most importantly: about you. Sure, it’s important to consider what kind of political, environmental, or social atmosphere you want to willingly become a part of, but express your awareness of these dangers and that you’ll be on watch while you’re there. It’s likely that your parents won’t settle down about these dangers until after you’ve come home, but invite them to visit to see for themselves that there’s a lot of positive things to see in that country, too.

reluctant parents move abroad

4) Wait to Ask for Help or Money

Drop the news. Have a discussion. Wait for them to begin processing their feelings about your decision before you ask for financial assistance to make your dream a reality. If you share the news that you’re leaving and that you need money to get there all at once, you’ll likely overwhelm them and they might shut the idea down right away. If you can, increment the amount of information you give them and allow for space to process. Explain that the program, standard of living and travel plans take resources, and that you’d like for them to be involved by helping to provide those resources.

3) Tell Them You Want to Gain Life Experience

At the risk of sounding cliché, one of the reasons you decided to move abroad is because you’re seeking change, right? In your routine, in your resume, in your inner self? Don’t forget to share this reasoning with your parents. It’s important for them to hear that you are seeking fulfilling life experiences in different cultures to your own, and that you want to see the world. Expanding your definitions of the way others live is an important tool you will come back with after having lived abroad, so be sure to share how important that is to you, even if you’ve heard it before.

See How Meaningful Travel Changes You for more tips to add to your story!

2) Set Up a Communication Plan

reluctant parents move abroad
They’re freaking out right? They know that communicating with you while you’re abroad won’t be as easy as it is when you’re home. They may have never used Skype before, aren’t aware of web-based calling services like Whatsapp, and so on. Ease their worries! Explain how you can communicate, and if they press it, set up a plan for regular communication after you’ve moved abroad and have a better handle on your schedule. Plan to give lots of updates in the beginning to assure your parents that you’re doing okay and are safe.

1) Stand Your Ground

You might have the kind of parents that, even after you’ve followed all of this advice, will try to talk you out of your decision. They may think you’re not ready, not responsible enough, don’t have a good enough plan, or maybe just can’t handle you leaving. And you know what? They are entitled to those opinions. Let them have them. But if you’re not receiving the amount of support you had hoped for, you have to stand your ground anyway. Your decision to move abroad was likely founded with strong conviction and excitement—don’t allow your parents to dim those feelings for you. Do your best to be patient with them, and explain that you are going, even if they are not on board. Make it all happen!


Choosing to move abroad for travel or teaching is a big decision, no doubt. As long as you have a plan and know how to execute the plan, just go for it! If you’re lucky to have supportive (yet worried) parents, that’s wonderful. Hopefully this list of things to do when sharing your news will to ease the process. Now it’s time for you to face your parents and get their approval to teach English abroad!

Have another tip or trick? Leave one in the comments below!

Words by Jayla Rae Ardelean. Images from Pixabay.