As I write this at my kitchen table with my mum sitting across from me reading the newspaper, it all feels so familiar. I can’t help but feel like I’m back in high school doing weekend homework with breakfast on the stove and John Mayer on the stereo. We fall into old habits; mum tells me to get off my phone to do my work and I roll my eyes, agreeing to disagree while Tik Tok distracts me further. The purpose of this piece isn’t to describe how my mum and I are coexisting, but to discuss how suddenly living at home can be both hard and rewarding. 
The relationship between a parent and child evolves throughout different phases of life. In high school my Mum and Dad were strictly ‘parents’ who we saw as authority figures that also knew how to have fun and be cool at times too. This is understandable given that I was navigating the rough waters of middle and high school, trying to find my self-confidence and avoiding the drama that felt all-consuming. Now at age 22 my mum has shifted from a “parent” to more of a close friend and confidante. My mum and I thrive in this new phase of our relationship because we would be there for each other during happy or sad times, creating a mutually beneficial partnership. This shift to friendship likely came when I moved across the country for college and I gained independence in my day to day life there. But now in the COVID-era, having moved back in with my mum, our relationship has broken new ground — a mix of both parent and friend. This has been both challenging and rewarding, as I am sure it has been for other households across the country and world.
Now after over a month of shelter in place in San Francisco, I have reflected on some lessons I’ve learned. By no means does this list indicate that I have mastered any of them because every day is a new opportunity to grow and be challenged. I hope that being intentional about these things could shed some light on relationships during this strange and tough time. I am also aware that everyone’s family and relationships are different, so this is just my perspective on my own situation; take it all with a grain of salt.
Parents (although older and more mature) also need support and guidance. Don’t be afraid to check in on them and be there for them even if it feels uncomfortable at first.
Being vulnerable and asking for love or space is ok and natural. Let your needs be known especially in this uncertain one can read your mind.
While it may be ‘home’ to you too, this is your parents/family’s space first... respect their routines and tendencies. 
Practice gratitude for the people around you; human connection is what gives us the most light in isolating moments. 
This is a good time for parents to see how much college students take on and vice versa. Give each other praise for that hard work.
The most growth happens during challenging times. Cherish this experience and use it as fuel for your personal and professional development.  
For more insight and relatable content regarding college students and their parents/families, check out this Psychology Today Article and this Washingtonian Article . To leave you with a laugh, here is a relevant Tweet I found particularly funny. I hope this article finds you all healthy and safe! ​​​​​​​

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