Now that graduation’s over, parents are probably feeling nostalgic for those few precious years their kids were at school and living away from home. For many moms and dads, graduation has put a swift end to those carefree days of being an empty nester. The reality is that most new grads aren’t recruited out of school. Consider this statistic: a 2011 poll showed that 85 percent of new grads will move back in with their parents. They won’t head off to a starter job and an apartment of their own. Instead, most will be moving back in with Mom and Dad and staying for a while — as they fill out endless applications for a scarce pool of jobs.
For parents trying to figure out how to handle an adult child living at home, there are some big challenges to address. To help ease the pain and make the transition more bearable for all parties, it’s important to set expectations. Here’s how:
1. Set a limit. How long will your new grad be staying at home for? Three months? Six months? You pick the time limit and make sure you communicate it clearly.
2. Talk money. Whether it’s paying rent or contributing money toward groceries or the phone bill, be clear about what your expectations are around your child’s financial contribution at home.
3. Clarify duties. Whether it’s cleaning, cooking meals or shopping, your adult child should be pitching in around the house and taking on a share of duties. Gone are the days when you prepared all the meals and vacuumed the living room while your kid watched TV!
4. Be understanding. Things just aren’t the same for young people today. The jobless rate for youth is insane — for the ages 15 to 24, it’s a stunning 14.7 percent in Canada. Wages are stagnant and housing prices have made home ownership an unrealistic goal for a huge section of the population. Bottom line: it sucks to be young right now. Does that mean you should let your kid lie on the couch and eat chips all day? No. But be aware that getting a job will take some time.