Parenting your college grad - KMSP-TV

Parenting your college grad

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Moving back in with your parents is never ideal, but it may be the only option for some college grads. Adrienne C. Laursen, LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and owner of The Engagement Coach, shares tips for parents and adult children alike, to make this very common transition as painless as possible.

Whether your adult child is looking to save money, or just can't find a job after college, returning home may be the most appealing option.  However, parenting an adult child is much different that parenting a minor child, and setting appropriate expectations and boundaries is key for a successful relationship.

Set expectations & house ground rules

-Have this conversation before your child moves back in with you. 

-Discuss behaviors (i.e. cleanliness, curfew, visitors) that are acceptable and unacceptable and consequences for not following the rules

-Discuss boundaries for privacy

-Looking for a job and saving money

According to the most-recent U.S. Census Bureau figures, 22.6 million adults between the ages of 18 and 34 were living at home with their parents in 2012, which is up from 18 million a decade ago.

Establish a timeframe for the length of stay

-Draw up a rental agreement or contract that outlines the parameters

-If that deadline is quickly approaching, revisit the agreement and discuss what needs to be different so your child can be successful.

Discuss money and boundaries for financial support

-Financial advisers say hosting an adult age child back at home can cost between $8,000 a year to $18,000 a year, depending on how much parents are shelling out for extras.

-Discuss rent, groceries, bills, insurance, car, etc. 

-Boundaries for loans, asking for extra cash, etc.

-If not paying rent, how to help out in other ways around the house

-Beware of consequences:  Allowing your child to not assume financial responsibility for himself/herself while possibly jeopardizing your own future dreams, finances and retirement planning.

Set guidelines for the parent/child relationship – a "new normal"

-Roommates vs. friends vs. parent/child relationships

-"My house, my rules!"

-Remember the person who left for college is probably a different person when he/she returns

-Talk to your parents about how you've changed, your interests, your goals, etc. and vice versa


For more information on Adrienne's counseling services and free relationship tips, please visit her website at


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