In 2010, 80% of all college graduates returned home to live with their parents. It wasn’t the path of choice for either parent or grad but given the state of the economy and the high unemployment rate, grads often have no alternative but to return home and hope for a job opportunity. My son arrived home last May. He had a resume and a plan to move out within six months.
After 4 years of college, it is a definitive readjustment – having a 22 year-old back in your house is enough to make some empty-nesters shudder and I did–if only for a minute. Fortunately for all of us, the little bit of anxiety turned into a once in a lifetime blessing. We had the opportunity to live with our adult child in a way that would have been impossible pre-graduation.
In the last year, we established a new relationship with new ground rules and we were very successful at it. How did we do it?
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! There is nothing more vital than this and it needs to begin before move-back day. Decide what is acceptable to you as a parent and what isn’t and be very, very honest. There’s nothing worse than walking in on a roomful of dirty dishes or finding your family room decked out in sleeping bags (a surprise sleep-over with former dorm-mates). It’s better to think about what you can live with and deal with the displeasure in the newlywed stage. The longer you hold things in, the worse they become.
Fifteen months later, our son is moving and quite frankly, I’m feeling way more sadness than I expected. As it turns out, empty-nesting yet again may be harder when your child has also become your friend.
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