*DISCLAIMER: This article has been written on behalf of my millennial peers. Although I have been lucky enough NOT to have these issues with parents (roommates), I know it’s a common issue for many. The suggestions for remediation below are based on the way my parental units handle this issue. (There, happy now mom?)
“YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME! YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” Sound familiar? Reminiscent of days long ago, a seven year old child screams at the top of their lungs… The first sign of autonomy. Any parent to a millennial will tell you that although these phrases evolve into much louder complaints garnished with expletives; fundamentally, they remain the same.
But I’m not the parent of a millennial, so how do I know this…? Because I AM a millennial. I have been the pouty seven year old, the bratty teenager, and most recently the twenty-something roommate of my parents. And trust me – the complaints may change, but the feelings that evoke these expressions are unchanging. We are forever begging our parents: “LET ME LIVE MY LIIIIIIFE!”
I was first inspired to write about this when I sent a text message to a group of my friends:
What’s the worst part about being a millennial and living with our parents?
We all have a few things in common: we’re all in our mid-twenties, we all went to university or college, and we all lived away from home for those 4 years… Finally, we had all moved back in with our parents post-school for a period of time, and some of us were still in that situation.
Although I received a flood of responses, there was one that came up with EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON.
They always want to know where I’m going, who I’ll be with, and when I’ll be home.
Now, if you’re a parent to a millennial and you’re reading this, I know you’re thinking to yourself, “why yes, that is a reasonable request.” The problem is, once your child has moved out, lived on their own, and come back to the nest, it’s no longer reasonable – at least not in my opinion.
Let me start by saying; we get it – you want to know who’s coming in and out of your house, but could you please please please be more relaxed about it? We don’t need the third degree when we’re running out the door to the gym – no, we don’t know when we’ll be back. Maybe I’ll do a 2 hour workout then grab a smoothie… Maybe I’ll be back in 30mins… Does it really matter?
Secondly, why does it matter who I’ll be with? Did I not manage to survive on my own for 4 years while spending time with whomever I deemed fit? (Yes you read that right I said whom). And on the off chance I’m spending time with someone that is less than desirable, don’t worry… They won’t be coming home with me I can promise you that.
Finally, I will be home when it’s time to come home. I understand that I live under your roof, and I will respect your house rules, but those rules should no longer include a curfew. If you’d prefer I’m home by a certain time in the PM, otherwise not to bother coming home until the AM, then we can potentially work something out. But expecting a 24 year-old to be home by midnight is like expecting someone to eat oreos without milk… Unlikely.
So, with all that being said, I’d like to clarify that we don’t expect to be exempt from ALL house rules; but it would be nice to preserve some element of independence… For a lot of us millennials, one of the best parts about living on our own was being able to live according to our own schedule. That means midnight McDonald’s runs, sleeping in, mid-afternoon workouts, and full days spent doing errands – all on our own accord.
Again, we understand that you may be asking simply out of habit, or maybe you really do want to know all the details of our excursions, but promise us that you’ll go about seeking information more subtly. Understand that becoming roommates wasn’t a part of our plan either, and we’re just trying to go about our business in the best way we know how.
Instead of demanding WHEN, WHERE, and WHO; try picking one. For example:
- “Where are you off to?”
- “Who are you hanging out with?”
- “Around when do you think you’ll be home?”
Leave it at one, and I’d be willing to bet that after a bit of time, we’ll likely start volunteering the information you parental units so clearly crave… After all, we may be brats, but we’re YOUR brats!
Stay tuned for Carolyn’s response to this one… I’m sure it’s going to be spicy!
Until next time,