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What's WITH my parents?!

Kate Middleton photo Kate Middleton · 15 Jul, 2020

Ever since lockdown began it's been crazy in our house. Both my parents are super stressy and shouty, and I’ve been trying to stay in my room when I can - but then they get cross and say I need to ‘be part of the family’. What is going on and how can I get them off my case?

Al, 14, Huddersfield

Hey Al, how’s it going? So, I am a psychologist - but I am also a Mum, and I SO identify with what you are describing here! Lockdown has been pretty crazy and what that has meant has been different for everyone, but for everyone its brought a lot of change and adjustment - including everyone being stuck in the same 4 walls for 3 months. It's no surprise there’s been some friction.

Add to that the fact that a lot parents have still been working, and have had to adjust to new stuff - home working, calls online, different shift patterns etc. Or if they’ve not been working and have been on furlough, the uncertainty of that and trying to figure out what to do with all that time has been oddly stressful.

Parents are human too and I know I for one have been pretty prickly at times when things have got on top of me. Sounds like yours are a bit in the same place.

And meanwhile … there’s always some challenges in the teenage years as your need to develop independence clashes with your parents desires to see you, have your company as part of the family - and perhaps it triggers anxieties they have around - say if they’re worried you are spending too much time on your own or online. These worries may have been particularly triggered in this time because so much is so weird. They’re just looking out for you - but it doesn’t always come out the way you might hope!!

This need you have for your own space and privacy is a good thing - and totally normal as your brain starts to adjust to being more adult and managing life on your own. And in lockdown with everyone thrown together you might feel an instinct to withdraw to your own space, shut out the rest of the family and get some peace - maybe even more than usual. As you’ve not been in school your parents may have seen you do that more often - so what they are feeling is understandable as they watch out for you and the rest of the family.

So much of this stage of life with parents is about chatting and compromising. Can you find some key moments where you do come down and join the family? Could you even suggest 1 or 2 family things you guys could do together? I know a family walk might not be the wildest hour of your week but these things you can give will mean so much to everyone - and might buy you some peace and quiet the rest of the time. Remember what you can bring to the others in your family and even your parents too as in this time they are just demonstrating that they are human too and under pressure - so you could really help them and bring some positives to their day by coming up with a plan and hanging out with them - not all the time, but for specific moments. Give it a go!

Kate

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