We have a Guest Writer today! Mike joins us and shares his tips for adjusting to your college grad moving back home. While I am a long way from that type of transition, Mike’s tips can really be applied to many aspects of our parenting lives.
Ways to balance life when your recent college graduate son/daughter wants to move back in
Author: Mike Walters
Your son or daughter has finished college and wants to move back home. The best way to keep your life in balance is with planning. Before agreeing to let your child move back, sit down and discuss how it’s all going to work and what both your and your child’s expectations are. The best way to create clarity and avoid future misunderstanding is to have a written agreement, according to “The Hands-On Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home” by Christina Newberry.
One of the most important things to discuss is how long your child plans to stay. Experts recommend setting a time frame, which might be a set amount of time or tied to a goal, such as finding a job or saving enough money to go to graduate school.
A related suggestion, if your child is moving back until she finds a job or reaches another goal, is to help you child set up a plan for accomplishing that goal. For example, would career counseling help? How is your child going to approach a job search? Do you want to set expectations about how your child spends her time?
Another important area to discuss is financial considerations. Will you child be a nonpaying guest, a paying boarder, or a member of the family who takes on chores and other household responsibilities? Will your child pay rent, buy groceries, or pay other household expenses? The answer to this question depends on both what you want and why your child is moving back. If it’s because he or she can’t find a job, asking for rent may not be the best option, but you do generally want to find some way for your child to contribute to the household, perhaps taking on responsibility for yard work or household chores.
You also want to discuss what you will and will not do for your child.
- Will your do laundry?
- Cook meals?
- Or is it his responsibility?
- Other issues you may want to cover include the questions of overnight guests (especially boyfriends/girlfriends), music, drugs and alcohol, parties, and pets.
- Do you expect your child to keep the house at a certain level of neatness and cleanliness?
- If your child doesn’t have a car, will you loan yours?
- What about privacy?
- What space is just yours?
- Is your child’s bedroom off-limits to you?
- How much do you need to know about what your child is doing?
- And when do your expect your child to leave you alone?
- Do you expect your child home by a certain time at night?
Remember they’re not teenagers anymore, so a curfew may not be appropriate. But if you tend to worry if your child isn’t home by a certain time, let him know, and ask that he be considerate of your feelings and let you know if he’ll be later than usual.
Even with a written agreement, issues will arise. Talking to your child in a calm, clear way about your concerns will help maintain a good relationship. If you’re angry, wait until you calm down to bring up an issue. Also, be willing to revisit the original agreement as things change.
By remembering your child is an adult now, and treating him or her like one, you can maintain the balance you want in your life.
About the author: When Mike Walters isn’t busy covering wellness plans for corporations he can be found practicing his adventurous hobbies of kayaking and wakeboarding.