A decade ago, most college graduates were able to find post-grad employment before they finished their last semester’s finals. This isn’t the case anymore. Today more and more college graduates are moving home after school and then working on finding out their next move. There are lots of reasons for this—a downtrodden job market, the cost of living being too high, etc. Whatever the reason for your son or daughter moving home, one thing is for sure—as the parent, you need to make sure that your kids know that this move is a temporary one. Here are a few ways to do that (without resorting to desperate measures):
1. Make sure that your kids store the majority of their stuff in the city in which they went to school—particularly if they are hoping to move back there for work. For example, if your son just graduated from the University of Chicago but you live in Indiana, you’ll want to help him find affordable Chicago storage units to keep his belongings safe while he figures things out. This way his moves home and back should be relatively painless instead of major ordeals.
2. Insist that your son or daughter find something to do outside of the house. Whether that’s taking a part time job at a local diner or volunteering at the local library, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you keep your kids from simply sitting on the couch and marinating in their own post-college funk—a habit that will drive everybody crazy.
3. If your son or daughter does decide to go after a job, charge him or her rent. It doesn’t have to be an exorbitant amount. It will, however, help your child learn to live as an adult with adult responsibilities. Plus, having to pay rent will encourage your child to, if nothing else, find a way to move into his or her own space—an essential part of growing up.
4. Even if you hate the idea of charging rent and can’t bring yourself to do it, draw up some spending boundaries. Ask for help paying for things like groceries and utilities. Definitely don’t simply start funding their lives the way you did while they were in middle and high school. You want to be supportive of your children. You don’t want them to get used to relying on you completely again.
5. Ask to see the progress your kids are making in their job searches. Yes, it is going to feel like things have regressed to their childhoods when you had to check on homework completion. Still, it will keep them moving and maybe you will annoy them enough that they will become even more motivated to figure out their next moves and get back to their adult lives.
Finally—while this article has focused on making sure your kids know their post collegiate crash with you is temporary, it’s imperative that you both remember that your children are now adults and adult boundaries must be set and respected—you can’t control everything. You can, though, get some more mileage out of the “my house, my rules” decree.