With colleges and universities closed due to COVID-19, this month’s Ask Coach Kathy provides tips for parents whose adult, college-age kids are living back at home.
I see so many posts all over the place about the balance at home right now and the struggles with small children. What about some tips on dealing with adult college-age kids who are now coexisting with their families 24/7? They have lost all of their independence they they have worked hard to achieve and it’s tough to live with adult children. Please share guidance on this subject.
Excellent question, and one I’m sure to which many can relate. Can you imagine being a freshman in college or in your last year, arbitrarily being told you have to leave school and go back home indefinitely to live with the people you love, but people you had to leave in order to grow developmentally?
It’s difficult for both the young adult and the parents. This wasn’t in the plan!
The home you now share with your returned son or daughter is your home and there are boundaries that are set in a home for the good of the household community. Having said that, I think in this unusual circumstance, it is important to give young adults some wiggle room. For example, if they want what seems like excessive time on their computer socializing with friends, I think it’s okay to relax with that. Remember what it was like to be in college? Socialization felt like part of the curriculum!
The flip side to giving your son or daughter some space to socialize comes with the expectation that he or she contribute to the running and maintaining of their now room and board – your house!
Young adults this age hate family meetings, but frankly, what’s good for the younger kids is also good for the older kids. Communication and collaboration are the heart of a family meeting. Sharing expectations, venting feelings, and planning fun things to do as a family is critical, especially in extenuating circumstances like these. And don’t forget the family hug at the end of the meeting (unless you’re in quarantine, which I hope you’re not). Young adults will roll their eyes so far back in their heads you’ll think they’ll never see again, but deep down they like the bonding!
If you need some guidelines on having a successful family meeting, I encourage you to download my free Family Meeting Guidelines.
Do you have sensitive issues in your relationships that you need help with? Ask Coach Kathy about it. Submit your question below.