Many thanks to Chelsea Petree, of the University of Minnesota Parent Program, for writing this guest post!
Moving home after graduation may not be the first choice for a recent college graduate (or the rest of the family). But today’s students are more likely than ever to see this as a positive option, and parents are increasingly likely to welcome their graduate back home.
In a survey of young alumni, nearly 40% said they had moved back home for at least a short time after graduation. A separate survey of parents revealed that more than half had expected this and felt there were benefits in having their student home again.
These surveys, conducted by the University of Minnesota Parents Association, looked closely into the phenomenon of “boomerang families,” uncovering the pros and cons as well as tips from both parents and young adult children about how to make the arrangement work.
The transition from an empty nest back to a full one is not trouble-free — parents and graduates alike note a loss of privacy. Recent grads sometimes resent having to report their whereabouts and explain their routine, while parents assume it’s only fair to expect at least some information about where the young adult is going and when she expects to be home.
Major challenges for parents
Major challenges for graduates
Students change significantly during the college years. After graduation, they and their parents appreciate the opportunity to establish a more equal, adult relationship. As one parent reported, “My daughter has grown into a mature young woman and we have started moving to a new stage in our relationship — friends rather than parent/child.”
What parents appreciate
What students appreciate
During the four or more years of college, every aspect of a family’s life shifts. Students, parents, and siblings all change, rooms are repurposed, and lifestyles evolve. A boomerang graduate moving home means everyone must rethink those changes and find new ways to relate.
Suggestions for parents
Suggestions for graduates
It is not unusual for college students to return home for a time upon graduation. Moving home is nothing for a graduate (or parents!) to be embarrassed or worried about. Often it’s a responsible choice and a decision that makes sense for the entire family. As one recent grad observed, “[It was] nice to reconnect with my parents post-college and get input from them as I started experiencing the ‘real world.’”
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