Student Life

When Your Student Returns Home: 5 Tips for Living with a Return Graduate

UniversityParent Staff

When your student left for college he or she was still a teenager and freshly out of high school. Turn around two to four years later and you now have a young adult walking through the door. When your student returns home, be prepared to have another adult in your household. Here are a few tips for living with a return graduate.

Tip 1 – Realize that your son or daughter is no longer a child and the old household rules no longer apply.

Not to say that there shouldn’t be any rules. All households need some rules to run smoothly. But now that they’ve graduated, your relationship should be based on mutual respect. Trying to enforce teen rules on a twenty-year-old will only build resentment.

Tip 2 – Understand that your graduate has probably changed since they went to college.

Two to four years may not seem like much for an older adult, but leaving for college at 18 years old and returning at 20 or 22 is a big difference for them. Treating them like the young adult they are will instill mutual respect, mutual trust and helps them prepare for the world outside.

Tip 3 – Make a game plan

Is this a temporary return? How long should a college graduate live at home?

Sit down with your son or daughter and make a plan. Now that they have a degree in hand they will need to start looking for a job and planning their future. Decide together how long is a reasonable time to stay at home based on your students job market and prospects for a living-wage job (a job that pays all the bills). As a note, if your student’s job market is highly competitive, he or she may have to stay at home longer, consider additional internships, scout for part-time jobs to ease their expenses while at home, and perhaps even consider returning to graduate school or a trade school to get further education. Above all, never compare your son or daughter to a successful sibling or recent graduate you know. The duration of time your student will stay at home is based solely upon the needs and desires of your student.

Tip 4 –  Understand and recognize post college depression

Often college graduates become depressed. Panic may set in as your graduate realizes that the care-free days of college are over and it’s time to go into the real world. As the parent, you can offer your support and understanding.

Tip 5 – Control the urge to control

When your student was away at college they learned how to live on their own and basically be responsible for themselves. They did their own laundry and even made their own meals. Resist the desire to take over and allow them the independence to live their own adult life.

Having a son or daughter returning from college after graduation can be exciting as well as terrifying. Learning how to deal with an adult child who is getting ready to start their future can make a big difference for them, for you, and for your new relationship.

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