Congratulations! You raised a graduate
You are no longer empty-nesters!
They’ve moved home after walking across the stage.
Great! Now what?
An estimated “15% of 25-35 yr old millennials were living at home with their parents as of 2016″
If you happen to be reading this prior to your child’s graduation then start planning now.
It’s important to have a conversation with your child prior to them coming home to set expectations and ground rules.
You don’t want to greet your child at the door with a contract the size of a doctoral thesis!
Remember that they are a college graduate now. They’re not the same 18 yr old kid who you sent off to college.
These steps will help them to transition home and prepare them for life after college:
Boundaries – Lay the groundwork for what your expectations are when they move back home. I always tell the parents I work with, you can spell “Rent” a lot of different ways. You can spell it J-O-B, you can spell it U-T-I-L-I-T-I-E-S, etc. But, it’s best for everyone to be on the same page up front.
Times Have Changed – Understand that times have changed. Cost of living, the job market, networking, etc. It’s all changed. Try to remember that and not hold your child to expectations based on nostalgic, revisionistic history.
Have Fun – Make time for building a positive relationship with your child. Remember! They just graduated, which is something to celebrate. This may be the last time before they enter the working world and could be a perfect time for that cross-country trip you always dreamed of taking with them. You want to aim for a 5:1 positive to negative interaction ratio. If you are constantly interrogating your child and having arguments about their current job situation, they are going to hide in their room all the time and your rare interactions are going to be pretty tense.
Build Connections – If you feel it’s appropriate and warranted, you can teach them about networking and help them build connections in their field. But it’s important to communicate about this. You don’t need to be Yente (see Fiddler On The Roof) and swoop in to control every move they make. Channel your inner Han Solo – “Keep your distance. Just don’t make it look like you’re trying to keep your distance”
Family Meeting – I often recommend a regular family meeting (ie. once a week or once a month) to keep everyone on the same page about family events, address any concerns and keep the lines of communication open. You can go over a number of things during these meetings – budgets, calendars, etc.
Continuing Education – Six months from when your child stops attending school, their student loans will come due. The average outstanding balance a student graduates college with is $34,144. I often point families with college graduates towards Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University as well as his book The Total Money Makeover to help teach them financial concepts and fiscal responsibility. Some of these concepts are things you may have already tried to cover; but, the setting that FPU provides is more like group counseling support. (Note – This course espouses a Christian worldview) In addition, it can be beneficial to help your child bone up on their ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living) – laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, cleaning, car maintenance, dr’s appointments, etc.
It can be important to work on managing your expectations. Think about construction. It almost never gets finished in the time frame you wanted! Keep in mind the projected completion date vs the desired completion date for your child to master some of the above skills as well as an official launch date. It may not always go according to plan. Sometimes you may have to make adjustments and allow for a few changes.
As we’ve stated in the previous posts, the goal is to raise and launch a healthy, happy, successful, adult that will become a productive member of society AND NOT kill each other in the process! Walking with them through the process and continuing to work on your communication and relationship will help make that a reality.