A father’s work is never done. Your children might grow up and go on to do great things as a professional, but they’ll always be your kids no matter how old they get. The parenting process doesn’t stop when your children go away to college or when they get married or have kids of their own. It’s a privilege that you get for the rest of your life.
But parenting isn’t easy, especially when your children take directions that go against certain societal norms. These are the moments when you really have to stand up for your children and throw your unflagging support behind them—when they’re in some sort of crisis, when school doesn’t pan out, when a relationship goes wrong. They’ll look to you, their dad, for support.
One of these difficult situations—one which is becoming more and more commonplace with this generation—is the phenomenon of college graduates moving back in with their parents. This is what I’d like to talk about today: the trials and tribulations of taking your child back in after college and giving them a roof over their head while they figure things out. It can be a tough time, but one that could be ultimately rewarding for your relationship.
Welcome Them with Open Arms
Of course, the first thing I have to say about this is that you should welcome your child back with open arms. It’s quite a humbling experience to come back home after years away at college, I can tell you that from personal experience. So many college kids spend their time dreaming up ambitious schemes for a new career far away from home that they never even consider the possibility that they might need to move back in with their parents. But the poor economic climate makes living at home quite a palatable option, if not the most glamorous one.
Now is a time to make them feel welcome back at home. Help your child build their confidence to take the next step after college and make a new life for themselves.
Set Boundaries and Address Potential Problems
Of course there is always the possibility that the move back home doesn’t go to smoothly. If you had a rocky relationship with your child before college, there’s a high likelihood that that rocky relationship could continue after college. It’s easy for college grads to revert back to their high school days, just as it’s easy for you to treat them like they’re still teenagers.
If you foresee any problems early on, do the adult thing and have an earnest talk with your child about them. Set boundaries and openly discuss the core issues that are rubbing both of you the wrong way. The direct communication and frank attitude will do a lot to help your relationship. If you’re on the same page, then you’re more likely to get along and grow together.
Above all, you should try to be supportive of your child when they come back from college. It’s a hard time for both of you: coming home is about the last thing that your child probably wanted, and it’s the last thing that you expected. It’s almost assumed that young adults should have their lives figured out after graduating from college, but that’s rarely something that actually happens. The months after graduation might be very critical for your child in choosing what steps they should take next. If you’re there to support them, there’s no way that they can do wrong.