Many families will celebrate college graduations this month. For some families, a college graduate will be a first for the family, for others it will be a long tradition of turning tassels and tossing caps in the air. It is a milestone that conjures a range of emotion for both parents and college grads. Parents are proud to see their children earn degrees. Graduates immediately feel the pressure of being thought of as responsible. Some graduates will join the workforce. Some graduates will get a “pass” and go on to graduate school. Others will face the ever increasing scenario of being jobless post college graduation.
Dispute the economic improvements since the market crash leading to the 2008 recession, the class of 2016 faces an anemic job market. According to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute, the class of 2016 is looking at an unemployment rate of 5.6 percent. Many are leaving college without any employment prospects, some are finding low paying jobs in their field or accepting jobs simply to make ends meet.
Whether facing unemployment or underemployment, more college graduates are moving back home. Returning home during adulthood is not usually a voluntary decision; it is often driven by economics. With large student loan debt and high cost of living in major cities, intergenerational living is on the rise. Census bureau statistics show 25-to-34-year-old Americans living with their parents approached 15 percent. Adults living under one roof from different generations comes with advantages and challenges. Though, with some concessions, it is possible to maintain healthy relationship in the living arrangement. We offer a few tips to readers:
- Parents should not immediately assume their young adult is a loser who will not amount to anything. Returning home is not an indication of future independence or self sufficiency.
- Openly discuss rules, boundaries and expectations. Talk about having company and what is or is not acceptable in the house by the young adult.
- Parents need to remember while the college grad is still their child but is not a child. The grad too needs to understand while they may no longer be children, parents are owed a level of respect.
- Respect privacy. If your teen did not like you going into their room, they will not be any different in their early 20s.
- Set a timetable. Young adults should not necessarily return home open-ended. It is important to work through a plan to keep your grad motivated and with some level of accountability.
- Ask for contributions. While economics moved the young adult back home, they need to start learning how to manage their earnings even when it is small. Remember contributions can be non-economic.
- Accept some level of micromanagement. It can be annoying to have a parent asking questions to account for every moment of your day but parents are concerned not simply nosey.
- Allow space for growth-do not enable. Young adults need to learn some life lessons without parental interference. Remember you will not always be around to throw out a safety net.
- Do not get complacent. The comforts of home can quickly become reassuring. Moving back home should be a layover not a destination.