Many young Millennials are moving back home in the COVID-19 era. In this guest post, Wilfred Farquharson IV, Ph.D., director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic at Stony Brook Medicine in New York, shares advice for families readjusting to having adult kids under the same roof with their parents:

The pandemic has ushered in a time of great uncertainty for many, including younger generations who in recent months have made the decision to move back home. A study by the Pew Research Center found that 52% of young adults, ages 18 to 29, were living with their parents as of July. That’s a 47% increase since February. 

This has understandably created some challenges for parents, but it doesn’t have to be difficult or unmanageable. There are ways to make it work. For starters, flexibility is key. 

Here are six tips for families adapting to this new COVID-19 normal:

  1. Give your children space while staying connected. Most young adults have gotten used to a certain level of independence and freedom, and it’s important to respect their space. At the same time, you need to talk about how a boundary or routine may be broken. That might involve simply knocking on a bedroom door or sending a heads-up text if they will be home later than usual.
  2. Young adults need to meet the obligations that come with living at home. Millennials who move back home should be expected to participate in family activities and share responsibilities. That includes assisting with household chores, helping to pay for living expenses if they’re able, and making time for family routines such as meals.
  3. Recognize the strengths and challenges of the family dynamic. There’s great diversity in the modern family makeup, and it’s not uncommon to have a multigenerational home. As such, it’s important to recognize how varying family dynamics affect home life. A collectivistic approach, for example, that gives priority to the group over the individual, may not work for your child. Similarly, being overly involved or helicopter parenting – especially with a young adult who needs space not hovering – may raise tensions. Make accommodations as best you can for what everyone in the home wants and needs to be comfortable.  
  4. Don’t disengage either. At this time of great uncertainty, it’s more important than ever for families to provide social support and that loved ones stay connected. This is crucial given the restrictions associated with social distancing, which have significantly limited social activity.
  5. Rediscover old family traditions – and start new ones. This could include Friday night movies, board games and strolls in a local park. Having fun together can make life more pleasant under otherwise challenging circumstances, while increasing family connectedness.
  6. Make open communication a priority. This is arguably the most important thing you can do as life continues to change during the pandemic. Being clear about expectations and boundaries will likely reduce unnecessary suffering and ultimately make the arrangement more manageable for everyone at home.

The stress of the pandemic has impacted families in ways that were previously unimaginable. But this time, young millennials moving back home also provides a unique opportunity to practice connectedness and reaffirm relationships with loved ones, especially those that have rejoined in shared living space. Take advantage of the opportunity to care for one another as we as community deal with this public health crisis. 

For more information on moving back home or living with adult children or parents at any point, see:

Under One Roof Again