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A House Divided: Finding Family Boundaries During Quarantine

Alicia Collins ‘21

Arts and Entertainment Editor 

I just want to begin this piece by stating that I do love and care about my family. However, since recently being sent home from college, I can admit that they do tend to get on my nerves quite a bit. I don’t know if it’s due to just straight out boredom or being stuck inside for most of the day that this is becoming more of a common occurrence. But I do worry that if the quarantine does plan to continue that I may be calling a tent in my backyard my new home. 

I know that the tent thing may sound a bit extreme, but seriously, finding boundaries in a packed house is becoming more and more difficult as the quarantine continues. Everyone within the family operates differently and many things have changed from the family dynamic you may have had growing up with them. Then add in having multiple college-level classes online and you may feel like your head may explode. However, it is important to remember that your mental health still comes first. 

See the Positives

In a time like this it is okay to be scared or nervous about what the future holds, but when it comes to living with your family, being negative about the situation can put a huge strain on the relationship you have with them. Even if your relationship is not the best with your family, you still need to show that you are willing to be positive about the current living situation. Understand that, in this case, your family may be helping you out in various ways financially by living with them during this time, so reminding yourself to be grateful for what they are assisting you with can help the relationship be a better one. 

Get Into a Routine 

Creating some structure in a time where the structure may be lacking may help when it comes to dealing with living with your family full time. Getting yourself into a routine can often be hard when days almost feel as they do not exist when living full time at home. Even with just having college classes, there is still a lot of free time in between. It is important to set a schedule for yourself to keep on track as well as it keeps your mental health in check.Keeping bedtime and mealtimes the same also benefits the family unit as a whole. Even if you may not eat every meal with your family, allowing for one or two meals together each day can increase open communication between members. 

Set Boundaries Before Rather than Later 

Even though your house may feel small with everyone being home, it is important to set boundaries for yourself as well as your family members early on. Keeping your family members informed on when you have virtual class meetings or lots of assignments due can allow your family to give you space when you may need it. Creating rules where a closed-door in the house may mean do not disturb the room. By doing this it can lessen likelihood of disagreements as well. 

Make Sure Family Members Have a Say 

With everyone being home it is important when making decisions that everyone’s opinions do get heard. This can be just for little things as well. For example, if you want to watch your show on the television you should ask the other members if they would like to watch the show as well. You have to understand that members may say no, so being flexible and making compromises is also very important when it comes to avoiding  disagreements. 

Embrace the New Time Together 

This new life can be scary for everyone, so it is important to be there for everyone who is important to you…even if they get on your nerves This time can be an opportunity to build relationships and give the people you love  the time that they deserve. Play a family board game or have a themed dinner. These are just some examples of fun ways that you can bond with family members and give this quarantine a more positive outlook for the long term.