Saturday, June 25, 2011

Moving Back Home After College

After the refrain of 'Pomp and Circumstance' ends,and the photos are developed,many families are finding it makes sense to have the recent college grad move home for a while as they look for work and restart their life.It's a little like after the party,for everyone involved.Here are some thouhts on easing the transition and adjustments for the graduate, and for the rest of the family.

The graduate left home 4(or possibly 5)years ago as a teenager,and now returns home as an adult,but not yet self-supporting.They have had their own routines,friends,priorities,and life. They are probably grieving,missing friends and their college lifestyle.Now they arrive home,and noone knows what should come next.For the first time in years,there may be no concrete plans or goals.It's like getting off a really fast ride at a theme park,coming to a dead stop.You feel disoriented.College life gears up at about 10pm,when middle-aged parents in suburbia are winding it down towards bed.

Parents may feel a mix of happiness to have the adult child home,and panic and anxiety over what their son or daughter can be doing next.Parents wonder if their offspring will sleep until noon forever, or someday find meaningful work and their own health insurance.Parents and younger siblings have probably adjusted over the years to day-to-day life on their own,and the whole family system has to adjust when the college grad reenters daily family life at home.

From studies of the family life cycle,we know that entrances and exits are the most difficult times for families.Entrances that stress families include births,marriages,adoptions,and family members reentering the family orbit,such as moving home. Exits that stress the family dynamics include serious illness and death,emotional cut-offs,and divorce.

What helps in the adjustment process?

1.Talk about the adjustment,how everyone can help in the process.

2.Having a few clear rules of the house clearly communicated.Issues like laundry days,quiet times,groceries,mealtimes or how food is going to be handled,parking, cleaning etc. need to be discussed.

3.Expectations about actively looking for work or taking other steps forward need to be communicated and agreed on.

4.It is healthy for all family members to contribute something to the household.Perhaps the recent grad can pick up some chores, run errands,or cook sometimes to help.

5.Be kind.Everyone in the family is adjusting to less personal space,more demands,and less freedom.We all have our little patterns,and it is easy,but not advisable,to get testy about needing to change our pattern.

Remember,we were all looking for our first job once,and its not an easy task,especially with the current economy.Keep exercising.Manage your own personal stress level.Get out of the house some,by yourself,with friends,or as a couple.This, too, will pass.The graduate only needs one good offer to get started into the next phase of life,launching and moving on.

No comments:

Post a Comment