Introducing “Ask Willow,” a new advice column from the Oak Leaf Student Media. To send your own question to Ask Willow, email [email protected] You will remain anonymous.
I live at home with my siblings and parents. My siblings are both college-aged too. I love my family, but I’m only living with them now out of financial necessity until I finish my courses at the JC and transfer. My adult siblings annoy me by treating me like a child even though we’re all adults. In fact, we bring all our childhood conflicts into our adult living situation at home. How can I get through the next year and beyond without constantly having conflicts with my sibling roommates?
Forced to live with family
Dear “Forced to live with family,”
It can be a defeating experience moving back home, or never moving out, especially as an adult. It’s hard not to give up independence while falling back into old routines and habits.
The most important step towards regaining your sanity around siblings is to set boundaries. Lay down your laws, whether it’s, “Don’t borrow my stuff without asking,” or “I won’t boss you around if you do the same.”
Try doing more solo activities outside of the house. This will help clear your mind and reestablish a sense of freedom away from the chaos. Being around family can be emotionally draining, so treat yourself to a day trip to the beach or a road trip to a new town. Adventuring on your own may be too intimidating, so invite a friend who you’ll be able to vent to about your family.
If you don’t already have one, get a locking doorknob for your bedroom. It may seem extreme, but this can bring peace of mind and establish boundaries if your siblings and parents tend to invade your space.
Treat them like roommates. Contribute to the household as an example of cooperative behavior. Do the dishes, vacuum and tidy up. Helping around the house without being told may help avoid lectures and blame games.
Lastly, plan outings with your siblings. You are family after all. As much as you may hate them at times, who else knows you well enough to get under your skin like they do? Learning to appreciate each other is necessary for a healthy family bond.
Best of luck,