How to survive when kids move home after college
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Q. Do you have advice for parents of "boomerang" kids who have moved home after college graduation?
A. If your child is jobless, jointly devise a game plan, advises Mary Quigley of Rockville Centre, a New York University journalism professor who writes a Mothering21.com blog that addresses parenting adult children. Quigley's youngest moved home in 2012 and stayed seven months before landing a TV-reporting position in Virginia.
Create a specific, written checklist of steps the child will take to achieve goals. Quigley's daughter had items such as shooting and editing a news piece every week on her own that she could offer with her resumé. Revisit the game plan monthly, Quigley says.
The child should get a part-time job such as baby-sitting or working at Starbucks and provide "sweat equity" for the household. Quigley asked her daughter to do grocery shopping, run to the post office and scan old family photos into the computer. "It doesn't take 12 hours a day to look for a job or send out resumés," she says.
Discuss anything that drives you crazy, such as towels on the floor. If your child lands a job but still lives at home, Quigley advises charging what she calls a "resort fee" because it sounds nicer than rent. If you want, return it when they start up their own place.
Anxiety over when her daughter might get a job underscored the time at home, and Quigley regrets that. "I wish I could have enjoyed it a little more," she says.