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College grads moving home: Good idea or really bad one?

Lisa Steinke, with Liz Fenton, is the co-author of the debut chick lit novel l'll Have Who She's Having and the popular Chick Lit blog chicklitisnotdead.com.

Not-so-welcome home

You thought you'd done everything right. You raised a child that went to college and graduated with a degree in a great field. And even in this economy you expected he'd get a job. But no such luck. And now he says he's flat broke with no job prospects in sight.
When your adult child moves back in

What should you do? If you're considering letting your college grad move back in with you, you might want to think again.

We talked to New York Times bestselling author Grant Cardone who warned us why this can be a dangerous situation for everybody.

Why your child should not move back in

So her bank account is empty and she says her job leads are all dead ends. And she's staring at you with big puppy dog eyes and you can't help but see her as the little girl she was not too long ago. She needs help and your instinct is to, well, help her. To open your front door and take her in. You are, afterall, her mom. "It's a lose, lose, lose for everyone. For you, your kid and your marriage," says Cardone. Everybody thinks this is the ‘solution’ but it really only brings problems.”

What Cardone wants you to understand is that you may still be a parent, but your child is no longer a child. "You’ve already done your job as a parent. Don’t continue to treat an adult like a child. Oftentimes what I see is the parent is encouraging this more than the kid is. It's Mom and Dad’s idea — not kids — most times. And it's the wrong thing to do."

“It can be a dangerous situation for everybody.”

Your child's job is to get a job

Cardone, who could not get a job with his accounting degree when he graduated college, had to make a choice. "It was either move home with Mama or go into sales. I went into sales."

"Your child's job is to get a job," stresses Cardone. "He needs to accept that he’s not getting a job with his engineering degree. In real life things don’t always work out. Go mow lawns. Go do something."

What if they still can’t get a paying job?

“If they can’t do it monetarily, they still need to contribute to the family by doing something. Clean gutters or mow the grass. Do something that adds value to the family so you can feel good about [your]self. You want to be a contributing member of the group, your family, not a freeloader.”

If you still decide to let him move back home

Despite Cardone's warnings, your instinct is to let your child try it out at home because you believe this is the best solution for your family. Plus, you know she'll get a job soon enough.

“If you decide to do it, your child still needs to get a job. You need a way to enforce this, so parents need a signed agreement. Otherwise, there is a situation being created that is not real. It’s a fantasy to think you can live somewhere for free.”

“Your child must pay for room, board and food, just like any other agreement with any other landlord. At this point, your kid will probably say then I won’t move back in with them then.”

Anything a parent can do to prevent this?

You don't have to be in this boat. There are things you can do from the time your child is a toddler that could help her- and you- avoid this situation.“Start early and quit giving your kid something for nothing. Even with my 3-year-old, she has to do something for me if she wants gum, dessert, sugar. It might seem cold and tough… getting her ready now. At 3 years old now for reality [she'll] face at 23. We live in this entitled society today that is destroying people’s belief in themselves. Everyone needs to believe in themselves. That’s as important as eating.“

“Parents help with connections in community. They can connect their child with those people hiring. As a parent you say, it’s your job to convince them to hire you but I’ll hook you up.”

How to teach kids the value of hard work >>

Read more about children and college

Starting a college savings plan for your children or grandchildren
Care package ideas for college students
How to cope when your child goes away to college

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