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With the economy the way that it is and affordable housing few and far between, it’s common for kids (sorry, young adults) to move back home with their parents for a while after college. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a job—and a well-paying one at that—lined up, right out of school. And many individuals simply cannot afford off-campus housing once they’ve graduated in the city where they attended school. There’s also the reality that perhaps your child doesn’t want to live, for the foreseeable future, in the place where she attended school. So it makes sense that she’d take a beat, think things over, and come up with a game plan at home rather than putting a deposit on an apartment in a city she’s unsure about. All of that being said, once a child returns to the nest, it can be very, very hard to get her to leave again. So, should you let your post-grad kid live at home? Here are things to consider.

living at home after college

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Why is she moving in?

Is she simply moving in for the practical reasons mentioned above? If so then, it’s really quite smart and financially responsible that she comes home before hemorrhaging money on an apartment.

living at home after college

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If it’s about fear, give a gentle push

If your child is moving home because she’s afraid of the real world (she won’t say this to you, of course, and you’ll have to sniff it out), then that’s something to think about. You likely shouldn’t enable her avoiding starting her life. She already went so far in leaving the nest by going to university. It’s easier to keep her moving along now, while she’s still out of the house, than it will be if she takes a step backward and moves back home.

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How is your relationship?

If you have a good relationship and have always managed to have peaceful interactions as well as open communication, this should go fine. You’ll enjoy being together, and you’ll feel that you can talk to her about her future plans without it triggering a fight.

living at home after college

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If it’s bad, prepare for turbulence

If you can honestly say your relationship has never been as good as it was when your kid didn’t live at home then, well, you might have some turbulence coming your way. Some family relations do better with geographical distance.

living at home after college

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Or take this time to fix it

If you do decide that, even though you and your child often fight when under the same roof, you’re going to let her move home, see this as an opportunity. This could be a good time to go into therapy and work on your relationship. That could be a condition for your child living rent-free in your home. If not therapy, then weekly one-on-one time together.

living at home after college

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Is there a plan for moving out?

Does your child have a plan for moving out? Is she looking for work? Does she know where she’d like to move? Does she have a goal date in mind for moving out? She doesn’t need to have everything figured out but just make sure she is putting some thought into that.

living at home after college

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Does your child grasp the finances?

Does your child have a real grasp on what it will cost to move out? That includes first and last month’s rent, a safety deposit, a check into her credit score, and the market rate for apartments in her desired neighborhood.

living at home after college

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Is she planning for those finances?

If she’s aware of the finances of moving out, is she preparing for them? Make sure she’s saving up, rather than just blowing her money on partying during this downtime. Financial planning isn’t always a strong point for millennials.

living at home after college

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Still enforce your rules

This is still your home so it’s still your rules. That becomes truer than ever when you have a fully-grown adult living under your roof and not paying rent. The least she can do is abide closely by your rules. That means curfew, no guests, or whatever else you want.

living at home after college

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Make your kid help out

Make your kid help out. She should be doing chores and cleaning. Don’t let her feel like she just gets to be lazy and taken care of—that won’t encourage her to leave.

living at home after college

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Have her contribute to the household

It’s okay to have your kid contribute, financially, a bit. She can buy her own food and pay for some of the utility bills. You’ll help her get ready for real expenses this way, too.

living at home after college

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Don’t hand-hold on job apps

Do not do the job search for her. Do not fill out most of the applications for her. Don’t call all your friends and ask if they know of jobs for her. That is her work.

living at home after college

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But make her stay on top of applications

Do make sure your child is looking for work and applying for jobs. You are allowed to require her to show you the work she’s putting into finding a job.

living at home after college

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Be wary of other post-grads at home

There may be other post-grads living at home in your town. Be wary of your child becoming too close to them. They can enable each other, and discourage each other from ever leaving. Your kid should be friends with movers and shakers—independent individuals making their own way in the world.

living at home after college

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Watch out for dead-end jobs

It’s good if your kid takes a job at a restaurant or coffee shop but only if that’s to save money to move out. Just be careful that she isn’t losing sight of her overall goals, and getting too comfortable with a job that doesn’t challenge her or put her degree to use.

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