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April 9, 2024 46 mins

More and more 20 something year olds are choosing to live with their parents; we are moving out later and a lot of us are boomeranging (coming back home after moving out). In today's episode we explore the emotional and psychological impacts of living with your parents in your 20s, why more of us are living at home because of financial anxiety or housing insecurity, how to handle conflict with your parents whilst you're still living under their roof and 6 tips for a successful living at home situation + some of your stories, advice and the benefits. 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:04):
Hello everybody, and welcome back to the Psychology of Your Twenties,
the podcast where we talk through some of the big
life changes and transitions of our twenties and what they
mean for our psychology. Hello everybody, Welcome back to the show.

(00:26):
Welcome back to the podcast. New listeners, old listeners. Wherever
you are in the world, it is so great to
have you here. Back for another episode as we break
down the Psychology of our twenties. How is everybody doing?
What's been on your mind? What have you been thinking
about recently, stressed about, worried about. Maybe it's money, which

(00:49):
is me at all times, your bills, how little your
job is paying you. Maybe it's your current living situation.
Your lindlord is quite frankly an asshole. Your roommate it's
irritating you. You can't find a place to rent in
your city. Maybe it is a breakup, a long term
relationship breakdown that you know, you really thought you were

(01:10):
going to be with this person forever. You had all
these plans for the future, and then suddenly it was over.
You're facing heartbreak kind of in the same place where
you fell in love.

Speaker 2 (01:20):
All of these situations, states of minds, experiences seem kind
of separate. They seem to touch on different facets of
dissatisfaction in our lives, but they have one thing in common,
and that is that they all cause us to really
consider the possibility of moving back home with our parents,

(01:41):
whether that is to save money because you can't find
a place to live, you're going through a massive life transition.
It is becoming a lot more common for twenty something
year old like you and I to revert back to
living in their childhood home or sometimes not leaving at
all until they're in there in late twenties, sometimes even

(02:01):
early thirties. Our living situation and our relationship with our
parents are two major points of I would say exploration
and theory in psychology, especially during this decade that we
call e merging adulthood, which is between the ages of
eighteen and twenty nine. Because these factors, these experiences, our

(02:23):
living situation, our parents, they shape a lot about who
we are. They shape a lot about what we're experiencing
in some ways, our entire state of mind and how
we go about seeing the world. We're seeing a lot
more research coming out about this, you know, in some
of the pioneering studies on emerging adulthood. This chapter that

(02:44):
we're in that was conducted by the psychologist Jeffrey Aren't
It back in twenty fourteen. He talks about how two
of the biggest events we go through, or kind of
battles that we endure on our path to full fledged adulthood,
are being home and redefining our relationship with our parents.

(03:04):
It really used to be the case that people would
move out of their parents' home and never return, you know,
for women it might not be until they got married.
For men, when they got a full time paying job,
as the gender norm goes. But nowadays we're seeing a
real societal shift whereby we are staying in the family
home for much longer. About fifty percent of people in

(03:26):
their twenties right now still live at home with their parents,
and it's typically women who move out a lot earlier.
But on average, you know, compared to like forty percent
of people who are living out of home two decades ago,
there is this kind of decline in individuals who are
seeking out independent living during this decade. You know, living

(03:48):
independently is no longer like a signifier of adulthood as
it previously was, because a it's occurring later. But b
we're also boomeranging, right, we're moving out, We're leaving home.
Were saying my mom and dad, like, I'm flying the nest,
and like five years later, we're back where we kind
of started. We're back in our childhood bedrooms. It used
to be the case that you couldn't even be labeled

(04:10):
as an established adult until you had moved out of home.
Like that was the biggest thing that researchers used as
a signifier to say, Okay, this person has grown up.
But I think that that label, that kind of factor,
that category no longer applies because there has been a
real change in our willingness and our ability to kind

(04:35):
of leave the nest. So let's talk about it today.
I really want to firstly speak about why it is
that a lot of us are delaying moving out, staying
with our parents, or being forced to move back home. Obviously,
cost of living is a huge one, but we are
also getting married later, you know, meaning that we might

(04:58):
stay at home for longer before potentially meeting someone and
settling down. We're also seeing that although there has been
a big growth in education levels, you know, more people
are going to university that hasn't translated into greater job
security or financial insecurity. So I asked you guys on Instagram.
There's almost I think ten thousand of you who answered me.

(05:20):
And the question I asked is why do you still
live at home with your parents or why did you
move back home with your parents? Because about fifty percent
of you said that they had moved out, you had
moved out of home, and you had found your way back.
So there were three main contributors factors really that stood
out to me. Firstly, this one I'm going to just
like put in its own category was COVID. Of course,

(05:43):
huge life changing medical epidemic event. So I actually moved
I moved out when I was seventeen, but I moved
back home with my parents for three months when COVID
first began at like twenty years old. And I think
that was a lot of people's experiences, like my mum
had a total meant will break down about me getting
sick and dying and having no one around to help

(06:05):
me because we knew so little about the virus. So
I lasted about three months before I literally begged for
them to let me go back to Canberra where I
was living at the time, and it was so strange
because I could have left at any point right like
I was an adult. My residential address was in Canberra,
so it was like full within the law to travel back,
but the dynamic of being at home made it feel

(06:27):
like I had to get their permission. That suddenly all
of my agency, all of the authority I had over
my life was kind of gone now that my parents
were living under the same roof with me. So COVID
was a big thing for a lot of us. I
think a lot of us did find ourselves moving back
home around that time. It really was though I think

(06:48):
once in a lifetime situation. I don't think that we're
going to experience that again in our life, if not
in our twenties, So we're going to count that as
its own separate category. But the second biggest rea and
that people you know told me about around why they
either didn't move out or moved back home, was finances
and saving money. Oh my goodness, the world that we

(07:12):
have inherited from our families, from our parents and their
parents and their parents before them is a broken world.
There is an insane cost of living crisis going on,
and I don't think I could name a city that
isn't experiencing this, or I could name a country that
isn't experiencing this. So a lot of us aren't able
to afford rent. I think in Sydney right now, the

(07:34):
average rent is seven hundred and fifty dollars a week
when the average income is fourteen hundred dollars, and that
is including people who are you know, directors and executives
and at the very high level of their career. I
don't think the average twenty something year old like you
and I is making fourteen hundred dollars a week. So
even if that was the case, almost half of your

(07:56):
salary is going to just putting a roof over your head.
So that's not really accessible, is it. I think the
rule of thumb is like a third or a quarter
of your income should go towards paying rent. That doesn't
seem like that. There's a you know, fourteen hundred dollars
versus seven hundred and fifty dollars that really is just
taking out a huge chunk of what you're taking home

(08:17):
each week. So we can't afford rent. We don't want
to pay rent, you know. I think a lot of
us are getting fed up of paying off somebody else's
mortgage whilst you're never going to be able to afford
a place. And I think that stuck inequality that we
are observing is creating a huge mental strain on the
lives and health of young people in this generation, primarily

(08:38):
through I think an increased prevalence and incidence rate of
financial anxiety. Constantly being concerned or hyper fixated on your income,
on job security, on your debts, on your ability to
afford necessities. I really don't think I can overstate how
much financial anxiety this generation is experiencing the previous generations

(09:01):
did not have to experience. Whereby, you know, rent is
one thing. We can't afford a roof over our head.
We can't afford that without skimping on essentials like food
or transport, or healthcare or even a social life. Yes,
your social life is a necessity, It is essential. Being
able to positively maintain your relationships is not a luxury.

(09:25):
So all of this kind of leads to a deep
sense of unease, which makes it really hard to relax
in our lives, and moving back home with our parents
can relieve that by taking away the primary trigger I
would call it for our worries about money, which is
rent and bills. It's interesting because I saw this quote
that said living at home with your parents may be free,

(09:48):
but you pay with your mental wellbeing. You might not
be taking on any tangible financial responsibilities, but it does
sometimes come at the small cost of your emotional health.
And we're kind of forced into this really difficult trade
off during this decade. Do we lose our health or
do we lose our wealth? That's what it comes down to.

(10:09):
The second biggest factor that people spoke about, which I
was surprised about and then actually equally not as surprised about,
was a breakup. I think when you start a life
with someone in your twenties thinking it will be forever
and it isn't, that is a significant disruptor to your
sense of self, to your plans for the future, your
plans for tomorrow. Even sometimes we need the safety and

(10:32):
security of our family to heal or to just give
us a place to stay. I've seen so many friends
enduring this recently, whereby they've been with someone for like
years and they've been living together, they're making plans for
the future, and then all of a sudden, one of
them turns around and cause it quits. And they forced
with this like really awful, horrendous reality of having to

(10:56):
clean out the place you live together, break a lease,
you know, just push forward, do the daily things you
used to experience with them by your side. That is
its own unique form of psychological torture, especially in our twenties,
when it does kind of feel like a race to
find the one. As much as I disagree with that,
you know, there is a societal pressure to like have

(11:18):
a mate, to have a partner by the end of
your twenties. So I think they're also battling this sense
of like, well, now I'm back at square one. I
have to begin this whole thing again. So that was
another big factor, is people experiencing a breakup and that
being a catalyst for moving home. And the final one
was the beginning or the end of a huge life

(11:38):
transition that kind of prevents us from having permanent housing.
A really great example of this is that period between
graduation and starting a full time job, or perhaps not
having a job lined up, not making any money when
you return overseas without a lease, you know, that is
another real big catalyst for moving home. Some of us

(12:00):
just want to be prepared, you know, to take our
time until it feels absolutely right to move out, even
if that means continuing to share a space, a home,
our privacy with our parents. There is one final factor
that I actually want to talk about really quickly. A
lot of you actually talked about how when your parents
became ill, you felt this real sense of obligation to

(12:24):
take care of them as they got older, as they
kind of took care of you when you were younger.
I think those of us with a real strong sense
of family values family obligation may feel compelled to kind
of give up our independent lives in our twenties to
very selflessly assist our parents. And I'm sure it's not

(12:44):
the easiest decision, but it definitely feels like the right one.
So what are the consequences of this? Why does living
with our parents in our twenties seemingly take such a psychological, emotional, social,
even sometimes physical toll. And there is a toll, a
very scientifically observable one. So a recent Australian study published

(13:11):
last year, one of the first of its kinds in Australia,
looked at cohabitation between parents and young adults. So parents
and children living together in the same house, and they
found that young adults, particularly those in their mid to
late twenties, living with their parents, had poor mental health
in those living independently, and those mental health impacts become

(13:36):
larger the older that we get. So when you're twenty
one living with your parents, it might still be a struggle.
It's not that bad compared to if you were twenty
nine and living with your parents. And the authors attributed
this to several factors. The first one is a sense
of feeling stuck or feeling behind, that you haven't yet

(13:56):
reached a milestone that other people in your life have.
You just feel like you can't progress your independent life.
And I think that there's a real cultural element in that,
especially in Western nations like Australia, like the US, like
the UK, like Canada, all of those whereby historically and
psychologically Western societies really value independence and they see a

(14:21):
dependence on the family home and on family resources as
a failure, whereby more Eastern cultures are a lot more collective,
you know, collectivism. That's a big part of their identity
as a community, which is we help each other out.
It's not unnormal, unheard of. I guess for people in

(14:41):
their forties to still be living with their parents or
to have their parents move in with them. So I
really think that the impact you're going to feel is
really dependent on a couple of things. Obviously, culture expectation,
that's a big one. But I also think the the
reason that we tend to struggle comes down to the

(15:03):
innate nature of a parent child relationship and how that
develops in our twenties, when we are no longer a
child by age, but we are a child by relationship
to our parents, living under their roof, feeling like we're
not fully able to express or practice our freedom, we're
not fully able to be recognized by them as an adult,

(15:27):
but rather as the child that they raised, the teenager
that they scolded, the young adult that they still feel
a sense of protectiveness or control over. Once again, this
environment position positions you like relationally, as a child, you
are still that sixteen, seventeen, eighteen year old version of
yourself that your parents could control and could send to

(15:49):
your room and could ground because the environment in which
that relationship and that dynamic occurred is the same, even
if you have matured and grown older. Relationship with our parents,
I think is always going to be hierarchical. They are
at the top. They have more power because of just

(16:10):
the nature of the fact that they you know, they
gave birth to you, they created you, they chose you.
If you were adopted, you know, there was this there
was an active choice by them to have you as
a child, and they got to implant you with their values.
Your childhood was formed by their choices. They financially supported
you for many years. And so when you spend that

(16:31):
first eighteen years of your life having to listen to them,
perhaps having to conceal parts of you to still seem
like a child in their mind, arguing with them, needing
their permission, that doesn't shift overnight. I think that's why
we see, like at the moment that we're back within
the orbit of our family, we like regress significantly. We

(16:53):
become very dependent. We argue like we did when we
were a braddy teenager. We don't pick up our laundry.
We just we become this version of ourselves that we
left behind. But when we come back into the relationship,
it positions us as being immature, as still being a child.

(17:14):
In fact, I actually read this really fascinating piece of
work in which one psychologist noted that it's really common
for people to regress psychologically, especially when faced with tension
or conflict within the family. We revert back to the
old patterns that we know that we have rehearsed and
remembered from childhood, because this is the only way that
we've ever related to our parents in these situations. It's

(17:37):
so interesting because I was having like an argument with
my mum a couple of months back, and like I
would say, this is a weird thing. I'm very good
at arguing, like in a mature way, like with my partner,
with my friends, with I don't really argue, you know
what I mean. Like it's and when I do, it's
like safe and it's respectful, and I know when to
take breaks. With my parents, it's just like I am

(18:00):
this feral human because it's just like I'm this child
again who doesn't have emotional regulation, because our relationship allows
me to fall back into that I always felt really
embarrassed about. It turns out this regression is actually very universal.
It's reflecting our longest relationship, the one that we've had
with our caregivers, and with that a very deeply embedded

(18:21):
pattern of behavior, and it's very very hard to break,
especially if you continue to live at home and you
haven't yet separated from the family unit, because that would
give you kind of a former way of psychological separation
in which you would have the space to form your
own values, to form your own beliefs, to form your

(18:41):
own attitudes beyond the family unit. That need to separate socially, physically,
psychologically gets stronger and stronger the older we get, because
that part of us that wants to be an established adult,
who wants independence, who wants to decide they have to dinner,
who wants to decide whether they're going to leave a

(19:03):
mess or not, that gets harder to ignore, even if
we know that we are saving on rent, even if
there is a practical consideration there. So this is what
the very famous psychologist Eric Erickson calls the battle between
identity versus confusion, whereby we start to really push back
against our childhood childhood identity and discover who we are

(19:25):
beyond the wants and beliefs of our parents, and we
need to overcome this conflict between identity and confusion in
order to progress in our lives. This used to occur
when we are about eighteen. But the fact is is
that adulthood is being delayed for a lot of us
because the milestones that normally defined our twenties are shifting.

(19:46):
So we're feeling this conflict and this urge for separation
later on, perhaps, but more intensely. That's the argument that's
been made in recent years. And I think the luxury
of having our own, say o, our environment, which we
didn't get as children, it becomes a necessity the older
we get, and having our own space becomes very psychologically

(20:09):
important because your own space is an expression of our
emerging identity. Having our own space allows for the expansion
of our personal boundaries onto our external environment. So it's
not just about how you want your parents to treat you,
it's how you want you like the control you have
over your space, the control you have over your furniture,

(20:31):
over your mess. I think having private and personal space
is one thing, but having enough of it is another thing.
You know, like, you may still have that sense of
control over your bedroom that's at your home, but you
need more space than that as you get older, because
a private life cannot be lived in one bedroom alone,

(20:52):
especially when someone can easily walk in or can maybe
here through the walls. Especially when that bedroom is one
that your parents essentially own, you just don't have room
to expand you don't feel as if you have the
ability to actually be you, and I think that can
lead us to feeling very claustrophobic, alienated, maybe stuck. It's

(21:12):
really interesting because there was this study done on this
that estimates that we need at least fifteen square meters
of personal space minimum as we got, so that's about
the size of one and a half school buses. You're
probably not getting that with your parents living in your
childhood bedroom. Privacy is another thing I want to focus
on within that. So privacy is a really interesting concept

(21:35):
because it is quite literally defined as a fundamental human right,
meaning that there are major bodies across the world, from
the UN to major psychological societies to the human rights
commissions of the world that see it as essential for
well being, essential for human safety, human security, but finally

(21:57):
human fulfillment. And it's not that our parents are deliberately
worthholding our privacy in most cases at least, just that
there is not much privacy to be had by nature
of living at home, by nature of sharing living spaces.
And I think that we feel that, especially when it
comes to our relationships, both romantic and platonic. I think

(22:18):
inviting friends over becomes a lot harder because you can't
use the space exactly how you'd like. Your parents may
kind of always be lingering in the corner. You can't
necessarily talk openly about whatever you want. You can't behave
however you want. There is still an illusion you want
to maintain with your parents that you are a child.
There is still a way that you are kind of

(22:39):
expected implicitly to act. This is not the place to
be uninhibited. This is the place to be cautious. Additionally,
unless our friends are particularly close with our parents, because
I know that does happen. Sometimes you can feel quite
on edge when you visit a friend's house and their
mum like opens the door, or their dad is like

(23:00):
sitting on the couch whilst you're cooking dinner, or like
he's like, I don't know, go into the bathroom whilst
you're like trying to catch up over a glass of wine.
You always have a sense that you're not just speaking
to your friend. There are other ears that are tuned in,
so it's hard to really get to that level of
depth where vulnerability exists, things might feel strained. Now, Romantic

(23:22):
relationships are a whole other bag of I don't know,
a bag of buttons, bag of bones. And I think
that living at home can really change the whole trajectory
of what happens between us and someone that we're dating.
Particularly when we start courting someone, start feeling them out,
start sleeping with them. It's kind of awkward to be like,

(23:46):
do we want to take this back home? Do we
want to extend this date in a place where more
comfortable by the way I live with my parents, you know,
let's be real, dating people casually it usually means you're
sleeping together or you're doing something intimate. In that sense,
you can't really like invite them back to your place
without like fully introducing them to your parents on like
date three or five, and that completely once again speeds

(24:09):
up the intensity of the relationship in an instant whereby
people who live alone or with roommates, you know, you
have time to like feel this person out, You have
time to date them before they meet the parents, you know,
Whereas if you're living at home, especially when it comes
to sex, you know, like they might be meeting them
pretty soon, And it's also a bit of like a

(24:29):
weird thing to like have sex in your parents' house,
thinking that like they might be able to hear what's
going on. You kind of want to maintain this like
facade that you're not a sexual creature, almost for their
peace of mind, and that makes it harder. It makes
it like a lot harder to do the deed. So
I remember when I moved back with my parents, not

(24:51):
for very long, it was like probably only three weeks.
Over the summer after I finished my degree, I was
dating this guy whose parents also lived in Melbourne, and
so of course we're both in Melbourne at the same time.
We keep seeing each other over the holidays, but because
both of our parents were always home, we could like
we couldn't have sex. And then one night I snuck
him in through the side gate to this literal shed

(25:15):
like this shed like studio thing we have in our backyard,
and he slept overnight on this blow up mattress. And
the next morning, for some reason, because literally no one
ever goes into this room, my mom like walks in
and there is me and the sky like naked on
a camping mattress, and it was so funny because my
mum always had this rule that her and my dad

(25:36):
needed to meet anyone who stayed over, so like boyfriends
and such. I guess she did kind of meet him
in a strange way, but yeah, it was embarrassing and
it felt like this weird curtain that you have around
your private life is like pulled aside, and it's kind
of ghastly. And it can also lead to some intrusive questions,
which I think is just sometimes our parents attempting to

(26:00):
connect with us, but it feels really awkward and embarrassing,
and there can also be judgment within that. If your
parent's attitude to dating is also different to yours, which
I think generationally is bound to happen, they might not
understand more modern dating practices like cooking up like situationships

(26:21):
like one night stands, friends with benefits, or maybe they
do understand it, and that's the problem. They know that
what might be taking place is transactional and it's an
uncomfortable mutual acknowledgment at that stage. All of this comes
down to, once again the innate child parent relationship dynamic.
That's what's playing out in this situation as we seek

(26:42):
opportunities to redefine ourselves, to expand our personal lives through
our relationships, to make our lives our own, to kind
of create new values for ourselves, new environments. Whatever it is,
our childhood environment remains the same, and it remains the
environment that we're in. So I think that is a
big adjustment, especially if you've moved back home after independent living.

(27:05):
It's a bit like a yoyo right, like you've gone
the full length of independence. You've reached the full limit
of what it means to live independently, right to the
end of the string. You've adjusted to the sense of
liberation and freedom and choice, and then you're kind of
pulled or you'oyed back, And that reverse adjustment is a
lot harder because you know what's out there, you know
the grass is actually greener, and you live with this

(27:27):
realistic comparison between living I don't want to say living alone.
You could be living with roommates, but living independently and
living with family. I think, whatever your situation, co habiting
with your parents is obviously a scale. Some people I
spoke to loved it. We're going to talk about that
in a minute. But the main factor that seemed to

(27:48):
determine enjoyment versus dissatisfaction is the type of parents that
you have and your relationship with them. Parents who were
strict or controlling in childhood, who are so called helicops
to parents, are probably not going to grow out of
that because I think a part of their makeup is
this sense of neurosis, this sense of needing control and

(28:11):
authority and to be in charge, and that part of
who they are, that part of their personality does not
disappear as their children get older. That makes it especially
hard to seek out freedom in a cohabitation situation with
your parents, or to even have a fruitful conversation about
what needs to change to ensure you guys have a
positive relationship, because they're not really open to discussion, right,

(28:37):
And that may have been the case always. Perhaps they
just never really got you. They didn't respect your identity,
they didn't really respect what you were doing, what you
wanted to do in your life, your decisions. So that
creates attention, and it creates conflict that is heightened in
close quarters whereby each of you is trying to enforce

(28:58):
your view and stand your ground and no one's willing
to shift. And I think that that doesn't happen when
you don't live with them. It might happen to some extent,
but they don't know everything that's going on. They don't
have as many opportunities for contact to say what they think,
even if it's not what you want to hear. They
don't have as many opportunities to be intrusive. So I

(29:19):
think that that's a really common thing that happens, whereby
it feels oppressive almost to have their constant not a judgment,
but their constant opinion. And they may also kind of
engage in a bit of guilt tripping. They made lord
things over you. That's a really common thing when we
live at home. You know you need to do this

(29:40):
for me because you live under my roof. I paid
for this, so you should show this house and respect.
You should do this. You should come home before twelve.
They have the power because they own the home, and
this kind of guilt tripping is a form of manipulation,
even if it's implicit, even if they don't understand that's
what they're doing. Maybe because you, your parents don't have

(30:00):
the skills or the language to assertively communicate their feelings,
and so they resort to implicitly controlling your actions through guilt,
and it leaves both people feeling terrible. It leaves you
feeling terrible, It leaves them actually not saying what they mean.
And they've looked into this. There was a study done
in twenty thirteen, a study done in twenty fourteen that

(30:24):
confirmed the initial findings that when guilt tripping happens frequently
in a parent child relationship, it leads to resentment, and
it leads to a loss of closeness and intimacy, and
it leads you feeling like you need to get away,
that you don't want to come back. There can also

(30:44):
just be this elevated sense of conflict, right like we
were talking about with them giving out their opinion. You
feel very stuck because you don't have the distance that
people who live out of home have. And I think
that sometimes it can be very revealing of a lot
of repressed childhood trauma or missteps or resentment that is

(31:05):
bound to come up in such close quarters. It's just
that now you have the adult understanding of your experiences
and the adult rationality to note that, like your parents
probably may have been in the wrong to see what
occurred that could have could have been done better, and
your parents are not going to see it the same way.

(31:25):
So it's just this like it can often promote, like
this rehashing of negative, difficult behavioral patterns between you and
your mum and your dad and your caregiver. That there
has been no circuit breaker, there has been no psychological
separation to stop this from occurring. Again. I just think

(31:47):
this goes to show how your relationship with your parents
can become strained when you live under the same roof.
Because we're not able to assert or practice our independence.
We still feel childlike, we still feel duck. Our relationships
may suffer, but sometimes maybe it's worth it to you
to save some money, to not drown in debt, to

(32:07):
have housing stability. And one part of it that we
haven't discussed is that there are benefits. Some people just
really like living with their parents, and I think that
that is also just a completely valid perspective that I'm
going to talk about after this shortbreak. We're also going
to talk about some tips to cope, how to assert boundaries,
how to get the most out of this situation. We

(32:30):
will be back shortly. If fifty of twenty something year
olds are living at home, I don't think all fifty
percent are struggling, because there are definitely some perks beyond
just lessening, you know, our financial anxiety or for temporary housing.

(32:50):
There are people who I know, who I'm friends with,
who actively choose this lifestyle and living arrangement, even if
they can afford to do otherwise, even if they have
all available opportunities to live out of home again. I
wanted to hear from you, guys the listeners, about your
experience with this, and you came through. You provided some
really fascinating insights. A big benefit that was spoken about

(33:16):
is knowing that you're always going to have a support
system and someone to turn to for comfort. That is
something a lot of us lack in our twenties when
we do feel especially disconnected and lonely. Having someone who
is always around is a blessing is really special, especially
if you're struggling mentally after a breakup or because of

(33:38):
a mental health condition, or if you're chronically ill or sick.
I do think that that is a massive pro of
living with your parents in your twenties, And honestly, I
love being baby by my mum. Sometimes when she comes
to town, it feels really good to kind of switch
off a part of my brain that is adult, because
I suddenly have like my protector here, I have someone else,

(34:00):
I have someone wiser, someone who's definitely going to pay
for dinner. Some of you people also said that you
are actually really good friends with your parents, which actually
tends to occur more the older we get. So there's
been some research on this that shows that our level
of contact and connection with our parents tends to dip
around twenty to twenty five, but then steadily rises thereafter

(34:24):
that dip, and they do say sometimes begins much earlier,
around seventeen, but seventeen to twenty five is like when
we most likely see it. It's a large range, but
most of us will fall into it. That dip is
probably attributable to the need for distance in early adulthood
to form an identity that is separate from our caregivers.

(34:45):
But I think we do truly appreciate how valuable family
is as we get older, how helpful they are. Living
with our parents can be quite special because we do
have a deep connection that we can nourish and which
can bring us a lot of comfort, especially as they're
getting older. I think there is a sense of like
I don't want to miss out on this time because

(35:05):
we become more acutely aware that we're not going to
have them forever. If you have kids as well, there's
such a great help heard from a few people who
were single mothers, and honestly, I admire you guys so much.
I'm sure parents are a really great help, a godsend
at times. And it just comes down to the sharing
of responsibilities, you know, living in a house by yourself,

(35:27):
even with other people. I don't think we kind of
appreciate how much work. It is, Like I really was
not grateful enough for what my parents did for me
back then, in terms of paying bills, keeping on top
of cleaning, keeping on top of maintenance, keeping on top
of laundry, keeping on top of just like the most

(35:48):
randomst things, locking the door, Like, there is a lot
to be done, and I think that when we share
that responsibility there is obviously less of a burden on us.
And just like a sense of community and belonging that
we don't, you know, we tend to stray from in
our early twenties. It's like an unconditional love that money
really can't buy. So what do we do to make

(36:09):
this experience more pros than cons. What are some of
the behavioral, psychological, emotional strategies for getting the most out
of this time. Even if this is not your first
choice for a living situation, you can make it better.
And I want to talk about six tips to help
you manage. So. The first one is to actually keep
your parents updated on your life. I do believe that

(36:30):
a lot of like the inquisitiveness, the curiosity, what feels
like intrusiveness, comes down to them just wanting to know you,
and so make it so that they are not surprised.
I think that creates tension when they're used to having, like,
you know, they plan to have this house by themselves
once they were past a certain age for their children
to leave the nest. I guess it is like the

(36:53):
best way to put it. And so you still being
there makes them feel like they still have some kind
of right to know what's going on. So invite them
in so they don't feel like they have to force
themselves in through opinion and judgment. Whether that is telling
them about your dating life in not as much detail
but in some detail, or about your friends, or about
how work is going. I think that that just creates

(37:16):
open channels for communication, and it stops them from feeling like, Oh,
you're just they're eating my food, you're ungrateful, You're not
coming to me for the emotional support that I think
they do kind of want to offer. The other thing
is to articulate boundaries. I feel like everyone knows this,
but sometimes we're not great at knowing when to set
a boundary and about what right, Like, we know we

(37:37):
feel uncomfortable, but we're not sure what kind of behavior
would prevent that level of uncomfortableness and distress from happening.
The best way to tell when a boundary needs to
be set is by noticing your feelings and when something
You can feel something in your body when you feel uncomfortable,
that is your brain telling you that something needs to
be fixed or rectified. That is your best alarm system there. So,

(38:00):
what about that moment the words said the situation made
you feel upset, made you feel angry, made you feel frustrated.
Was it because they crossed a line in terms of
like asking about your personal life? Was it because they
guilt tripped you? Was it because they asked you to
do something that you didn't want to do. Once you
can articulate what it is that made you uncomfortable. Then

(38:22):
you can set a boundary, not before you have to
actually know what it was that was frustrating, what it
was that made you angry. You need to express that
boundary before it can have effect. It might be like, Hey,
I don't want you to speak to me like that.
I'm not a child anymore, so when we're having conversations,
please speak to me as you would speak to one
of your friends, or to you know, my dad, or

(38:44):
to my mum. Or it might be hey, like, actually,
I understand that I'm living under your rooth, but I'm
still an adult and I don't need to curve for you.
I don't need you to tell me what to do.
Can we have some respect around me to live independently?
I think it takes courage to do that, but it
will improve your life. And just even speaking about what

(39:07):
it is that's upset you does allow you to come
back and reference that and say like, Hey, we talked
about this, and we spoke about the consequences of what
would happen if this wasn't fixed. Which outcome would you? Like? Here,
do you want the outcome where I move out and
we don't speak anymore, or where our relationship is incredibly tense,
or do you want the outcome where we do have

(39:28):
open channels of communication and we can speak about this
like adults rather than like I'm still a child. This
also leads me to my next tip. When you fight,
don't go down and stay high. I understand as we
spoke about it's very easy to regress and become quite
childlike in conflict with our parents. This is your reminder

(39:49):
to be calm, to take a break, take a step back,
go for a walk, and to not let your parents
put you in the position where you feel like you
need to be emotionally immature. They might be very high.
I don't know. I feel like sometimes parents can be
very much like up on their high horse, very much like, oh,
you don't understand, dismissive. That's really freaking angry when you

(40:10):
feel like you are still an independent person. So don't
let them put you into a place where you confirm
that you are still a child, where you confirm that
you are not able to have constructive conversations with them.
So these next two I think are really practical. The
first one is to take on some adult responsibilities in
the house, so you don't feel like you've lost control

(40:31):
over your environment, that you're not doing something, not acting
to maintain a home and pay some rent, so that
you still feel like you have some rightful ownership over
your space and that you're contributing. Now, obviously a big
factor that we spoke about was that we move in
with our parents. We stay home with our parents because
we can't afford to move out. So how can we
afford to pay rent? I'm not saying pay the seven

(40:53):
fifty that's the average weekly rent in Sydney or whatever.
Pay like fifty bucks or put like twenty dollars where
you buy twenty dollars doesn't buy them any groceries anymore,
And no one hundred bucks where you buy all the
groceries for the week, So that you still feel like
there is a level of entitlement you have over this
space because you are making some kind of financial commitment

(41:13):
contribution that increases a sense of ownership for you, so
that this is you your space. You don't own it,
but you're contributing to it, you have an investment in it.
Do things outside of the home. This one is probably
the most important of all of them. Don't let your
identity get tied up with being an adult who still

(41:36):
lives in your parents' house. Like, I know, sometimes it
can feel kind of strange, maybe shameful, you know, maybe
not what you wanted. But that doesn't mean that you
can't still get the most out of your twenties, right
you should join a social club, a book club, late
night sport, volunteering, rock climbing. I think that these activities
allow you to feel like you still have a sense

(41:57):
of self outside of the home, that you can still
be free, you can still be your own person, you
can still be you know, in this phase and this
chapter of exploration and like journeying into adulthood beyond the
orbit of the family. That's really really valuable to keep
up a sense of, like keep up a sense of

(42:18):
like not independence, but a sense of engagement maybe with
the life that's going on around you and with other
people who are maybe living out at home, maybe aren't
just other people like our age. Put a lock on
your door, someone actually send this in. That's just like
a small assertion of privacy, right, Like, sometimes it's nice

(42:39):
to just know that Mum isn't going to like go
through your like naughty draw like when you're when you're
not at home. I understand if it's a rental property,
that might be harder, but you can get a removable
lock that you can take off before the lease expires.
Just some way to assert that, like this is my space.
Like we said, personal space is a vital a cycle,

(43:00):
logically very vital the older we get, so that's really
valuable to like assert that, like this is my oasis,
this is sacred to me. I can use this space
as my own and finally have some productive check ins
with your parents, with your family, the same way you
would have check ins with roommates. Right, living under one

(43:22):
roof people cohabitating is a melting pot is a like
a kindling for conflict, Like something is going to go
wrong because everyone has different preferences, different ways of expressing
their emotions, expressing their needs, different stress is going on
in their life that might be triggered or you know,

(43:43):
kind of broken by someone else's just doing something small. Right,
it's the straw that breaks the camels back, as the
saying goes, So you do actually need to still be
actively communicating about what's going on in each other's lives,
what needs to be done, around the house so that
there isn't a level of resentment that builds up up
and spills over what people are dissatisfied about. Should there

(44:03):
be a cleaning roster, not to turn it into a sharehouse.
But I think the secret to any good relationship is
really just having the guts to just be like, this
is uncomfortable, but we're going to talk about it anyways.
Because it's like a really painful massage. You know you're
going to feel better. You know that the future outcome
is going to be a lot more enjoyable. I think

(44:25):
living at home with your parents in your twenties takes
a bit of courage. It definitely takes a lot of
emotional regulation, and it takes effort. It takes effort to
still feel like you are independent and free and living
your best life. So I really hope that you enjoyed
this episode. I really enjoyed exploring this because I do

(44:46):
believe that our living situation and our relationship with our
parents are two of the most significant contributors to our
mental wellbeing and early or emerging adulthood, especially when they intertwine,
especially when they interact. I want to hear more about
your experiences if there's something we've missed, please reach out.
This is such a fascinating area of research, especially as

(45:08):
we're seeing cohabitation rise, we're seeing young adults move back
more frequently. I think it all points to a broader
societal shift in which it's hard for twenty somethings to
be as independent as our parents were. And that's not
to say that we don't want to be right. It's
because of a whole range of factors like finances, like

(45:30):
cost of living that interact with our personhood and interact
with the decisions that we are able to make. So
I really hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope that
you learned something. I hope that it improves your living situation,
it helps you redefine your relationship with your parents, whatever
it may be. As always, if there is someone who

(45:50):
you think needs to hear this episode, maybe not your parents,
maybe your friend or someone like that, please feel free
to share it with them. That is the main way
that this show grows and reaches more people. Make sure
you're following. You never know when a new episode might
be one that you really need to hear, and it
pops up on your feed and I don't know, it
becomes part of your day, So hit the follow button

(46:11):
if you're on Spotify and subscribe I think. If you're
on Apple, I really need to brush up on my
podcasting app knowledge. And if you have an episode suggestion,
if you want to contribute more to this conversation, of
course I would love to hear from you. You can
reach out to us at that Psychology Podcast on Instagram
and as always, we will be back next week. Stay

(46:32):
safe and be kind to yourself until then.
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