• Adult children getting their first taste of worrying about their parents. (Westend61)Source: Westend61
Our parents are young enough to work and be completely independent. But this independence, when coupled with a hesitation to confront the real extent of COVID-19, is resulting in many a tense exchange in the family group chat.
By
Samuel Leighton-Dore

17 Mar 2020 - 1:39 PM  UPDATED 17 Mar 2020 - 2:05 PM

For some people in their mid-late 20s and early 30s, myself included, the coronavirus presents reason for concern. Not necessarily for ourselves, unless we have compromised autoimmune systems, but for our parents; those in their 60s, living with asthma, perusing their local cafes with the unrelenting optimism of an international tourist hitting Circular Quay for the first time during Summer holidays.

With this worry, millennials are now experiencing some degree of parenting role reversal, many for the very first time. You see, our parents are young enough to work and be completely independent. But this independence, when coupled with a hesitation to confront the real extent of COVID-19, is resulting in many a tense exchange in the family group chat.

From parents who are unwilling or unable to stock up on medications and groceries, to those who don't see the point in cancelling their upcoming international vacations, to some who are even taking pride in their 'business as usual' approach to daily life - adult children, hooked into an unrelenting 24-hour news cycle and watching the pandemic unfold in real time, are struggling to see eye-to-eye with their parents.

Because it's normally our parents calling to check on us; making sure we're keeping healthy and happy. But suddenly, we're the ones sending the helicopter-mum text messages, advising the people who raised us to err on the side of caution.

Social media is awash with stories, from the mildly frustrating to the straight-up hilarious.

"The amount of reverse parenting going on right now is crazy," one social media user tweeted.

They added: "A lot of Millennial/Gen X kids having to put their Boomer parents on curfew and grounding them. We're not mad. We're just very disappointed in you."

Another Twitter user shared: "My mum almost tried a lipstick tester amid this outbreak at the mall today and I had to run across the other end of shop to swat it out of her hand lmaooo this whole reverse parenting thing is not fun...she won’t talk to me now because apparently I’m 'badtameez aulad'".

And while there's undoubtedly some very real stress that comes with ensuring our parents are well prepared and taking sensible precautions against COVID-19, there's room for a chuckle, too.

As one millennial shared on social media: "Feels so frigging good to tell your parents that THEY'RE grounded, though."

As of Tuesday afternoon, only people who have recently travelled from overseas or have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case and experienced symptoms within 14 days are advised to be tested.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor, don’t visit, or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

Coronavirus symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia, according to the Federal Government's website, and can include a fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.

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