5 Life-Changing Ideas For The Parents Of New Grads

Taking them off the payroll is just the beginning. Here's how moms and dads can survive college graduation and help their adult children thrive.

Congratulations to those of you who are now the parents of college graduates. For many, it's been a long haul, but now your job is done. That's right. It's time to turn the reins over to your children who are now young adults. Here's how you can best help them thrive.

Take them off the payroll. That's right. For twenty something years, you've provided them with financial support so they could live the American dream. You've paid the rent while some of them have been living in college dorms with views that you could not even afford to have. You've uploaded their accounts with spending money so they could afford to dine out with their friends, while you packed your lunch for work in order to have the funds to do so.

I understand it may be emotionally difficult to cut the cord, but you must do so in order for your adult child to thrive. I'm hearing from many parents that their children have moved back home because they've been unable to find the job of their dreams. Some are on the couch playing Candy Crush while others are catching up on four year's worth of Netflix, while you my friend are still working two jobs to keep the family afloat. Do you see anything wrong with this picture? The sooner your child realizes that they will have to earn money in order to continue to live the lifestyle you've provided for them, the sooner they'll get off the couch and begin to look for work.

Stop sending their resumes out for them. It's certainly understandable why you may have done this while your child was in school cramming for exams, but in case you haven't noticed, exam week is done. This is their job search. Not yours. If you really want to help them out, give them the contact information for the college placement office and then step away. I suspect that many will tire of watching their friends post photos and stories regarding their exciting new careers and a few may actually call for help.

Set deadlines. Most people work best when they have a clear idea when things need to be done. This includes young adults, who are quite accustomed to having deadlines. It can be challenging for some to leave school and find that you don't have to do anything or be anywhere within a specific time frame. Days turn into months and in some cases, months turn into years.

Work with your child to establish a realistic deadline for becoming independent enough to move out of the house. Take it one step further and break this down so they can track their progress as they work towards their ultimate goal. My most successful job search mentoring clients are those who actually set these deadlines for themselves. This is a much more effective approach than having someone (especially a parent) telling you what to do.

Keep your opinions to yourself. The hardest part about being a parent is allowing your child to make their own mistakes. It's okay to offer your opinion when asked. Otherwise, step away and let the new adult in your family learn those lessons that will serve them well for life.

Provide help when asked. It's okay to open a door for your child when asked. By that I mean, if your son or daughter asks you to make an introduction to someone you know who can help them find a job, then by all means, do so. Set your expectations so your child knows what to expect. For example, let them know that you expect them to pick up the phone and call this person within two days of the introduction. If they fail to do so, let them know this is the last call you'll make on their behalf. Then keep your word.

Some of this may actually be harder on you than it is on your child. Stay the course and hopefully one day your child will thank you for giving them the gift of independence, even if they aren't thanking you today.

[Image: Flickr user Procsilas Moscas]

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10 Comments

  • Socialworkisgnarly

    My word! Kids change their majors like underwear and don't do what they need to do during college to get connected with jobs. My parents couldn't afford college for me and a 3.5 gpa and multiple extra curricular activities while working 30hrs per week while going through high school wasn't enough to secure angood scholarship. What reality looks like to a lot of folks-get pregnant, get student loans, live in cheap apartment for awhile, live off of student loans, and still be paying them off when your kid is graduating high school. My children know their options. I'm not funding major changes or a 20something year old to sit on my couch and play candy crush all day. It teaches them nothing. They learn they can walk all over you more. Kids nowadays don't go out and grab life by the peanuts and confidentally work hard for, network, and claim the fruits of their labor. And I'm only 33! You want something? Work for it. No better way to develop self sufficiencu.

  • my three sons

    I hear you and would agree with you.  However, I would do what I can to help my child/ren when needed.  If he needs to move  home, work like a dog to pay off the college debt while living at home, I would welcome him home.  I would neer allow him to sit on his ass at home, and play video games.  If that is what I am in for, then by all means, he is out of here.

    I brought him into this world  I did everything in my power to make sure ALL was right when he was born and under my care.  I will continue to do everything in my power to make sure he is not in line on welfare, and be another dependent on society. Yes he is my dependent, but I hope that I brought him up right and will be on his own two feet so that I don't have a dependent.  God forbid the day I have to become his dependent.

  • Cat Thornberg

    oh, I've been doing nothing but sitting on the couch and playing candy crush? really? *maybe* I've had moments of laziness during the past year where I've sent out 700 resumes (NOT through my parents), visited career fairs, knocked on temp agency doors, and walked from HR office to HR office until my nice dress-shoes started tearing the skin off my toe-knuckles. f u. I graduated with a degree in a field that was alleged to be in high demand. a sure hit. then when I started looking for work, six months before graduation, every HR recruiter told me that new graduates were unlikely to get jobs in the industry anytime soon because......get this....baby boomers in the field were delaying retirement. i worked my a-- off in college, gave up my social life and dating opportunities just so i could get top grades and excel at my internship, only to be told that there were no jobs for new grads because the older workers refused to give them up. so, parents in their 50s to 60s, if you really want to help out us 'lazy' youngster, please start dying. we're sick of paying for your free healthcare, and we're fed up with this crappy economy that you left for us.

  • Wkggirl1

     With your attitude, its no wonder you're still unemployed. I am by no means a college graduate but I work my a** off at work. And to tell the 50s and 60s to start dying, are you referring to your parents too? One day, you will be in your 50s and 60s.  Have a little respect for the older generation.

    How are you paying for free healthcare when you don't have a job? I am in my mid 30s, been paying into the system  for 17 yrs and may not even have social security when I retire but i would not speak like you.

  • Redhotmamma52

     One more thought, what free healthcare are you referring to?  If it's Medicare, all of the recipients have paid into the fund by WORKING!!!  I will give you a clue as to where to find that deduction on your pay stub:  It's acronym is OASDI.  I know you don't recognize it because you have yet to receive a pay stub. And WAAAAAAH!  WAAAAAH! you didn't have a dating or social life in college, well I didn't have heat or a car to go to my 2 jobs to keep both of my sons in college.  Your reached your goal, a college degree now all you need is a charm school diploma and you will be all set.

  • Deke Panthar

     If you aren't getting a job, maybe it's because of your hostile, negative attitude towards your elders - those who are responsible for hiring new employees. Maybe you would have better luck if while looking for your "ideal" job you took a job at McD or anywhere you could make a few bucks to contribute to household expenses while still living off your parents' largess. Frankly, you sound like someone I would NEVER hire, because you're a self-pitying crybaby. I wish you (and especially your folks) lots of luck.

  • Redhotmamma52

     Wow, as a 50-something who will be working until she dies and pays for her own healthcare, I am appalled at your "college educated" attitude.  Are your parents part of the group you want to help your generation by dying?  I am sure they would be heartbroken to know how you really feel.  I suppose them working to help you through school is an exception because you needed them to work at jobs taken away from younger workers.  How are you paying for baby boomers free healthcare when you don't even have a job yet?  Maybe all these baby boomers delaying retirement are paying for their child's education or maybe even their own.  You are a selfish little twit and if your college saw your post it would be highly embarrassed to have a new alum like you.  Please do not be an ambassador for your college because enrollment will surely decrease. I do appreciate the fact that you are out there pounding the pavement but sometimes you have to look at it as maybe those jobs were not right for you.  Put your game face on and improve your attitude and stop blaming others for  not dying so you can have what you want.  Just because an HR recruiter says "unlikely" doesn't mean impossible.

  • Jason45

    Thank god you're not my mom- I graduated college, now work two 25 hour a week jobs and have started full time school again. Without my parents' undying support and love, I would be working the 3rd shift at McDonalds, not in school, and not able to pay off a mountain-load of debt. This article isn't 'groundbreaking,' sometimes situations require this, but seriously, grow a heart.