Congratulations on getting your child through the college experience. As June approaches with its whirlwind of graduation activities culminating in your child’s first steps into adulthood, you may think your job is done.
For some of you this is true. For others however, the nest which emptied four years ago may get inhabited again. Are you prepared should your little birdie decide to return home for a while?
Often graduation results in your child returning home and becoming a member of the household while they look for a job or find themselves. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with a child returning to the nest for a period of time. Statistics show however, that the length of time varies and can wreak havoc on a household which has been devoid of children for four years.
Graduates have to make some adjustments. Upon returning home, they may find the established rules in place regarding curfew and chores to be stifling. After all, these birdies have been “on their own” for a while now and used to flying in and out as they please!
Following are some tips to help you and your child during this interesting transition:
1. Reinforce that you love your child, are proud of their success at school and that you look forward to their new accomplishments. Even as parents must be firm, they must also recognize and help build their child’s self esteem.
2. Give children a grace period when they come home. Your mileage may vary but anywhere from two weeks to 30 days to watch Soap Operas and movies should suffice. More than that and you may end up with someone entrenched in the world of television and not the world of real life.
3. One thing that’s often overlooked until it’s much too late is the graduate’s ability to get gainful employment and to begin looking long before the date of actual graduation. Make sure your child has applied for work and sent off resumes early in the year. When she returns home, you may need to set up a calendar where she’ll document where and when she is looking for work.
4. Your graduate should understand that they may need to pound the pavement in their search for a job since all jobs are NOT in the paper or on the internet. They should network with friends and family as well. Remind them that looking for work IS work!
5. Establish firm ground rules and deadlines. For example when will he come home at night, will he have dinner with you as a family and for what chores will he be responsible? Can the girlfriend/boyfriend spend the night in your home? In what ways can he contribute to the household? Will he pay rent? Can he smoke in the house? When will he be leaving?
6. Do you need to teach them basic life skills? Things like opening a bank account, applying for an apartment rental, understanding insurance are what they need to know. In addition, make sure they understand the expenses in running a household-what will increase because there is now another person in the house? It’s important that they understand what’s involved in running a home so don’t be shy.
7. Check your records. At what point does your health insurance coverage cease for your child? What do you have to do to continue it? What resources do you need to confirm? Does COBRA come into play? (Go here to check out the Department Of Labor website for COBRA information) http://www.dol.gov ) Contact your agent about car insurance rates also. Find this out early in the graduation year.
8. It’s fine to ask your child what they think is fair way to run things so you can reach a compromise. Then create a simple contract agreeing on the rules you’ve established. All parties should sign and live up to the agreement.
With love, patience and focus, you can help your birdie succeed as an adult by providing them with the tools to build a nice nest of their own.
© 2006 Pamela Tyree Griffin
Pamela Tyree Griffin has over twenty years of management and training experience, is a published writer, book author and facilitator. A motivational speaker she talks to groups about parenting among other topics. http:takeoff.to/ptgriffin