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Tips for Parents as Many Young Millennials Return Home Due To the COVID-19 Pandemic

STONY BROOK, NY, September 29, 2020 – The pandemic has been a time of great uncertainty for many including younger generations who in recent months have made the decision to move back home. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that 52% of young adults were living with their parents as of July, up 47 percent since February. This 2020 Migration of adults moving back to their childhood bedrooms now has families readjusting.

Wilfred Farquharson IV, PhD, Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic at Stony Brook Medicine says flexibility is key. He has some tips for families adapting to this new normal:

  1. Consider the importance of the physical space. Some young adults have been used to independence and freedom within their space. It’s important to respect that space, but also have regular open communication about how a physical boundary can and should be broken (i.e. knocking, sending a heads up text, setting schedules for open door time)

  1. Young adults should also understand that although they have been independent, they have re-entered the physical space that places them in a differently familial environment. As such, they should be expected to participate in the family activities (i.e. support household chores, assist with financial needs of the house if able, make time for family routines such as meals)

  1. There is great diversity in the modern family makeup and a multigenerational home is not that uncommon. Still, it’s important to recognize varying family dynamics and if one’s make up has traditionally been collectivistic in nature, enmeshed and helicopter strategies of parenting may frustrate the young adult.

  1. Disengagement is also a family dynamic to avoid at this time of great uncertainty because social support and connections with loved ones are crucial especially given the restrictions of the pandemic with social distancing and significantly reduced activity level of public social activity.

  2. Discovering old family traditions of Friday evening movies, board games, strolls in a local park, and the like may increase the pleasantry of a challenging circumstance. It increases social engagement that is otherwise limited and creates opportunities for healthy connectedness.

  3. Lastly, and arguably most important, is effective communication which is key in managing the varying circumstances of the pandemic. Developing a structure that incorporates the points above would be crucial for the well-being of all parties. Being clear with expectations and boundaries of one another will likely reduce unnecessary suffering.

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