Young adults back home - When is it too much?
When COVID-19 started, there was fear and uncertainty. A natural way to deal with the fear is to bring your loved ones close, to unite the people you love. Married children and young adults came back to live with their parents. Parents welcomed them in and were happy to have their young ones back in their “nest” where they can protect them and be together through the fear and turbulence of COVID-19. Moms and dads tried to make their children feel comfortable and safe, at times cooking for them, cleaning after them, and even doing their laundry. However, weeks went by and even months and young adults continue to live under their parents’ roof. Yet, the initial pampering and expectations continue.
Parents that find themselves in this situation may be grappling with a variety of emotions. They might appreciate having their children back home, enjoy their company, and/or feel that their children should always feel welcomed in their home. Yet, at the same time, they might feel tired, overwhelmed, and taken for granted. It is normal that parents do not know what to do and continue to host their married children even though there are certain emotions that don’t feel right.
How do we know when it is time for young adults to venture back to their own homes?
Questions to ask yourself:
Are your adult children still in your house due to safety? Are your children home because of the fear of COVID-19, finances, or because of convenience?
Are they pulling weight as an equal member of the family or as a guest?
Are you feeling unappreciated?
Is having married children home counterproductive? Instead of becoming closer, are the members of the family fighting more? Are they getting into more arguments?
Relationships are a continuum of highs and lows. Sometimes you need to do things that seem unnatural or counterproductive in the short term but that can benefit the relationship in the long term. You may think that asking a married child to go home would hurt a relationship, but if you allow yourself to take a step back and see how your relationship is being affected by having them home, you might realize that having them home is having a negative effect overall. If you find that you are feeling more frustrated with your children, you are getting into more fights and you are more irritable around them, then it might be time to send them home.
You do not need to send them home forever, you can send them home for a short while. This will give everyone time to recharge, and when they come back you can set new expectations of what you are willing to do and what you are not. If there was something that was irritating you, you can set a new set of rules; a reset. If they are no longer guests but members of the family again, then their chores should reflect that as well.
It is important to note that If they have no place to go or feel safer in your home, then out of necessity you may have to allow them to stay. However, create appropriate expectations and boundaries for the well being of everyone in the family. On the other hand, If it is out of convenience and it is hurting your relationship, then sending them home might be what you need to take care of the relationship.
It might not seem as though you have their best interest in mind when you send them out of the “nest”, but having a healthy and positive relationship is beneficial to both the parents and the children. Although parents may feel guilty, parents are no rookies in making difficult and uncomfortable decisions for the best interest of their kids and their family.