Making it Work : When Millennials Move Back Home

Making it Work : When Millennials  Move Back Home

Graduation is one of life’s most momentous occasions. What comes next for each graduate may be a completely different story.

Some grads may score a dream job, beginning a new role immediately that summer. Others may find themselves working in a field other than what they pursued in college, or even skipping from job to job, making less money than they anticipated. Still others may be unemployed even as the fall approaches. Whatever the case, a number of students fall back on Mom and Dad once more, moving back home after college.

Your graduate may find comfort in coming back home for a while, or the reaction may be quite the opposite. If a recent grad’s friends all moved onto bigger and better things, your son or daughter may feel a little left out, anxious, or even depressed. Having a child move back home after graduation opens up new doors in different ways and it’s a good time to share some lessons and open conversation with your kids.

“I Respect You”

Graduation rouses many emotions – excitement, nervousness, motivation, exhaustion, and for many, a sense of being overwhelmed. Whether your graduate is soaring in the clouds or barely scraping by, emotional support is a vital element you can offer right from the start.

“If students lived away from home those four years – or sometimes 5 or 6 depending on the program – it can be challenging for both parties because students have gained independence from what the parental home was like,” explains Wendy Krisak, Director of Counseling at DeSales University.

Having a child move back home after graduation opens up new doors in different ways and it’s a good time to share some lessons and open conversation with your kids.

“It is a different thing, being back home ‘for good.’ It can be challenging because parents are struggling with ‘what kind of rules should we have, will they be the same rules as before, the students are technically adults, making it on their own.’ It’s an interesting balance of ‘ok, I’m still your parent you’re living under my roof, but I also need to recognize you are an adult, you’ve been living on your own, waking up, getting to class, all the things I used to do for you.’ How do you balance that?

Keeping open lines of communication and having heartfelt talks periodically can be beneficial to the entire family.

“I think the most valuable words anyone can say are, ‘I respect you’,” says Krisak. “A lot of times students feel disrespected, still feeling like a child at home when they are trying to be an adult.

Offer Sound Financial Advice

It’s never too late to offer sound financial advice to help your graduate along in life. Of course, it’s better the earlier in life you address good financial practices like saving, but better late than never. Parents of recent grads can offer tips and set financial expectations for their grown children living at home as well.

Wendy Krisak suggests some areas parents may wish to consider emphasizing:

• Grown children back home with the parents need to understand their financial obligations and necessities – bills, loans, budgets – now and in the future.

• Students or grads living at home may be asked to pay for their own cell phone bills and car insurance.

• Graduates should likely pay the tab for their own personal shopping and spending as well, helping to teach financial discipline.

• Parents may also wish to encourage their kids to think about saving for the future with an IRA or other savings account for retirement.

“It is important for parents to instill now as much knowledge as they can about finances, saving, and working,” Krisak says, adding that people shouldn’t get caught up in the money because you find rewards in other ways.

Set Reasonable Expectations

“For parents, I would say sit down with your newly graduated son or daughter and create together a dialogue of the expectations you have,” Krisak says.

She recommends asking questions like:

• How long does my son or daughter plan to live here?

• What are the expectations for work/finding a job?

• Should the grad be paying anything?

This way the graduates can express how they are feeling and together with their parents can find a compromise on how the living situation will work. This may involve paying a reasonable fee for rent or groceries, or simply taking responsibility for some chores to lighten the burden on you as the parents.

“It’s going to be a different experience,” says Krisak. “Expect bumps in the road, but they are okay, they are just bumps. They can be worked through if proper communication is had by everyone in the household.”

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