As summer approaches and with more and more colleges considering online learning for the fall, it is a good time to remind young adults still living at home about expectations and boundaries. This is an open letter from parents to you older kids who find yourselves back at home from college or unable to move out without a job thanks to coronavirus.
Because this seemingly endless quarantine is a particularly stressful time, renewed commitment to our family expectations will promote health and help minimize stress for all of us.
This is a Family, Not a Dorm.
This is a family, not a dorm or a commune of millennials each with his own schedule. We are raising your younger siblings. The examples they see influence their behavior. If you have graduated high school, you are an adult and are now expected to show a good example in your speech and your behavior at all times.
Bedrooms are for Sleeping.
Public rooms are open to all for enjoyment during waking hours. They are not for sleeping. Generally, waking hours are 7:00 AM to midnight. Bedtime for younger children is earlier, usually around 9:00 PM.
Generally, sleeping hours for adults are 11:00 PM to 6:00 AM, although you are most welcome to go to bed early or sleep in a bit as your work schedule permits. Normalize your sleep schedule to fit into this daytime pattern. Regular observance of circadian rhythm tied to sunlight hours and regular eating times promotes health and reduces stress.
The dining room and kitchen table are for eating (outside in the backyard works too). Keep food out of the living room and your bedrooms. Doing so reduces cleaning time by localizing food residue and also reduces likelihood of vermin and insect infestation. The hot months of summer typically drive ants and other insects inside for relief from heat and to search for water and food.
Help with Food.
The kitchen is for cooking. You need to pitch in to help with food management, cooking, cleaning and generally keeping the kitchen sanitary and in order.
We do not run an all night diner nor a short order restaurant. If you don’t like the food, offer to cook something for the group yourself, or ask us how to help make a different offering another night. We are very happy to oblige! This will help expand everyone’s pallet.
Although we do not have family dinners every night, their purpose is bring us together to converse, share our day, and connect. This is called socialization, a way to learn how to communicate with people of various age groups and to learn table manners. So plan to come to family dinners when offered. If you have a conflict, please let us know a day ahead of time so we can work around your schedule.
You are not Renters. You have no “Rights.”
Chores are group activities that promote the cleanliness and smooth running of the house. You are expected to do chores as long as you are living here. You are not guests. We do not rent rooms. We are pleased to supply housing, food, transportation, internet access and entertainment opportunities to promote a happy co-existence as you are adulting. In turn, you must complete your chores in a timely fashion and keep your own bedroom clean, trash free and reasonably tidy at all times. If you are unclear on any of this, please ask.
Them’s the Rules.
As adults, you do not have to follow any of these expectations. They are completely optional just like our offer of free housing, food, transportation, internet and entertainment. If you do not want to follow these expectations, please make other living arrangements. Dad and I are happy to help facilitate your jump to independent living with any advice or ideas or guidance. We love you.