Monday, 15 June 2020

If you've moved back to your parents' home due to the coronavirus pandemic, you're not alone.

Today's young adults were already more likely than those of previous generations to return to live in their parents' homes, according to Pew Research. But the pandemic has driven even more young adults back home in an effort to leave densely populated cities or ride out a period of furlough or unemployment, according to The New York Times.

The option of returning to your parents' home during a public health and economic crisis may be comforting, but doing so can also bring new challenges. After enjoying the independence of college or young adult life, it can feel stifling to think about living under your parents' roof again.

It's possible to live in your childhood bedroom, respect your parents' turf and still maintain your independence. But it may not be easy. Consider these strategies for navigating your new, multi-generational living arrangement without relinquishing your adulthood.

Take an active role to help manage the household

Children and teens may sit back and let others take care of them, but adults help with household chores, errands and cooking. Don't allow yourself to slip back into the habits of an adolescent, even if your parents are content to prepare your meals and do your laundry. If you've been living on your own or with roommates, you've taken on responsibilities of taking care of yourself. By stopping now and allowing your parents to take care of you, you may develop bad habits as well as relinquish your self-image of competency and responsibility.

It's best to communicate openly about how to divvy up various household chores when multiple adults are sharing a home, says Julie Lythcott-Haims, a former college administrator and author of "How to Raise an Adult." When you commit to doing your part, you're likely to feel better about yourself and your parents are more likely to treat you with the respect you deserve.

Have an open conversation about finances

The pandemic has caused financial damage for people in every age group, so it's important not to assume that your parents are doing better financially than you are. Even if they love having you home, they probably weren't planning on it and may need or expect you to contribute financially to household expenses.

Sit down and talk to your parents about household expenses and your ability to contribute. Offer to pay rent or help with some bills. If contributing financially to the household will be difficult for you, be open about that too. Your parents may be willing to provide you with a place to stay in exchange for household chores, lawn work or cooking. As an adult, be willing to contribute in whatever way you can.

Set boundaries for privacy

When you were a teenager, your parents may have needed access to your bedroom, electronic devices and other belongings to ensure your safety and adherence to their rules. But now you're an adult, and it's OK to ask your parents to respect your privacy, knock before entering your room, and leave your things alone. Remember to provide other adults in the house with the same boundaries you expect them to provide you.

“Everybody is accustomed to greater autonomy and freedom, and now we're in an environment where everyone is supposed to be locked down," Lythcott- Haims told the Los Angeles Times. “We kind of want to be sure everybody is abiding by the rules, and yet we're all adults here. So I think there's a lot of walking on eggshells about serious issues."

Stay connected with your old life

Having extra unexpected time to spend with family can be a good thing, but during your time away from home, you've likely developed new routines with new people that you enjoy and cherish. It's normal to miss that life you've built on your own, even if you enjoy being back home. Look for ways to stay connected with friends and co-workers from your newly built adult life. For instance, consider hosting a virtual happy hour or dance party, or organizing digital party game sessions with groups of friends.

Develop an exit plan

The coronavirus pandemic may have brought you back home, but that doesn't mean you should stay indefinitely. The pandemic and its economic impact may last for some time, but as an adult, you should be making a plan for eventually leaving the nest again and living on your own.

Maybe your time at home is an opportunity for you to save money, and set a goal like a deposit on your own apartment or a down payment on your own home. It can also be an opportunity to launch that online business or side gig you've been planning and start earning extra money to build the future you have in mind.

Moving back home doesn't have to mean reverting to childhood. Instead, use this time to assert your independence and plan for the adulthood you really want.

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