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  • Anjali Gupta

7 Tips For Parents And Their Young Adults Back Home

This pandemic has affected children of all ages. University students, usually independent and

self- sufficient on campuses, have needed to move back home with their families. For some, this unexpected surprise has resulted in quality time families are treasuring with their sons and daughters. However it may also cause stressful moments for young adults unaccustomed to different rules at home or for parents transitioning to a full house they are not used to.

Q & A Today

JUDY HOLLAND, journalist and author of the new book, HappiNest:Finding Fulfillment When Your Kids Leave Home

Q: I know you have discussed that research shows 1 in 3 young adults in the US return to live with their families. This pandemic has provided a spring surge in returning young adults because institutions have converted to virtual learning. What are some of the stresses around this?

Young adults doubling up with Mom and Dad used to be known mockingly as the “boomerang generation,” “growing-ups,” and “failed fledglings.” Remember the film Failure to Launch in which the charming but immature character Tripp postpones adulthood and settles in with his parents to take advantage of his mother’s laundry service and home-cooked meals as he cavorts with like-minded buddies?

Well, that’s NOT what has been happening with young adults in the past few years! Young adults—one in three— have been hunkering down at home to pay off steeper-than-ever college loans, launch businesses, learn a skill, go to graduate school, or just save money. It’s far more expensive to live on your own than it was when we were young adults. The boomerang trend in young people ages 18 to 34 accelerated during the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009, as a weak economy and an anemic job market sent droves of young adults home for a financial security blanket.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we are witnessing a surge as young adults are returning back home to their parents, seeking solace, financial and emotional support as their college studies, jobs and social lives have drastically been disrupted.

Challenges for parents can be managing the household so that it does not become the Mom and Dad motel, triggering conflict and resentment. Also, it can be hard to remember it is a dramatic change for these young adults, who at this age crave independence more than ever.

For young adults, the challenges may include adapting to the loss of freedom under their parents’ roof and staying optimistic that they will soon be able to resume their lives away from home.

Q: What are some helpful tips for parents?

Keep in mind the words of Henry Havelock Ellis, a British psychologist, physician, and social reformer: “All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”

1. Define ground rules: Who preps meals? Shops for groceries? Cleans? Does laundry? Sit down and have that conversation. Young adults need to take an equal adult share of responsibilities. Don’t do everything for them.

2. If you have downsized since your young adults left or converted a bedroom into an office, you may have to re-arrange existing space, especially if you have college kids who need to learn online.

3. Provide a welcoming, loving space and help them find the new normal. Make them a cup of tea. Go for a walk together. Plan something you can make together for dinner.

4. Bring back the family dinner—without phones or other electronic devices. This creates connection and provides an opportunity to share information.

5. Listen more than you lecture.

6. Allow your young adults to make their own choices.

7. Find new ways to have FUN!

This crisis—as tough and strange as it is—really can bring out the best in us. Savor this rare opportunity to be together!

Q: What are some helpful tips for young adults? They say that 20 is the new 30. The road to adulthood these days tends to be longer and more winding. You may have been carving out a career, getting financial footing and learning to accept financial responsibility. Now this pandemic may have changed your plans and sent you back home. It may feel like a step backward.

1. Know that studies show huge benefits from living in multi-generational households. Young adults boomerang home in large numbers around the world. In Italy, Spain, and Japan, where it’s especially tough to find housing, many young adults remain with their parents well into their 40s. In Europe, 48 percent, or more than half lived with their parents in 2014, according to the Pew Research Center.

2. Now that you are catapulted back home unexpectedly, use this precious time to get to know your parents as adults.

3. Help yourself and your parents adjust with good humor, kindness and patience.

4. Reframe this. This is a time to build stronger bonds that will last a lifetime.

5. Share your ideas, talents and skills with the family.

6. Remember, this is a temporary situation.

7. Keep upbeat and build skills for the future so you can emerge stronger and better than before.

Thank you to Judy for the inspiration!

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