Goodnight, mom. Goodnight, dad. Who really imagines themselves still uttering those words (in person) at age 25? With the job outlook less than stellar for recent grads, it’s no secret that moving back in with parents after college is an increasingly popular option. According to Monster’s 2011 annual entry-level job outlook, about 52% of college grads will move back home. That’s up from 40% in 2009.
So maybe it is the best financial option before you get your feet on the ground. But what will it do for your sanity, not to mention your parents’ sanity? Here are a few key things to remember when making the transition back to your old room. That is, if it hasn’t been converted to your dad’s man cave by now.
Talk it out. Everyone knows their parents pretty well, and chances are you can already predict what they will expect from you under their roof. If you’ve always had an open relationship with them, the transition will probably be easier for you. If not, asking yourself a few questions before making the move might help, along with making sure you’re comfortable with the answers.
Lois Braverman is the president of Ackerman Institute for the Family, one of the premier institutions for family therapy in the U.S. She says, “I would have the young adult say to the themselves, ‘what do I know will make things the calmest and the smoothest? What behaviours do I know will escalate things and make things conflictual?”
Compromise is Key. By now, you’re probably used to keeping whatever hours you please, but that might not fly with your parents. Those who have lived it, say it’s a give and take.
“I didn’t have a curfew but I did have to start texting my parents every hour beginning at midnight if I wasn’t home, “ says Lizzie Brubaker, 23, who moved home after graduating from Southern Methodist University. “It was kind of interesting to have to check in with my parents when I was out with friends.”
Family Follow Up. View your new living arrangements as a work in progress. “Check in after the first week or so,” recommends Braverman. “Ask, ‘how am I doing? What do we need to change to make this better for everyone?’’’
Or you might find that they come to you first. Angelina Tatara, 27, found herself back home with her mom between graduating from Slippery Rock University and deciding to go back for her Master’s degree. “She would just tell me if she had issues with anything and express what needed to be changed,” says Tatara. Sounds simple enough, but it definitely takes dialogue.
Think big picture. Remember that this situation is only temporary (hopefully!). While you’re at home, just remind yourself that this is really good quality time with your parents.
Once Brubaker finally landed her first job after about 10 months at home, she found herself just a little homesick. “I do miss spending time with my parents, she says. “Including their cooking.”