When your adult child moves back in

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.

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

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How to cope when your child goes away to college


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

jlo5322 July 13, 2012 | 11:34 AM

i graduated 3 years ago with a teaching degree and after landing my first teaching job i was laid off. i've been up to my eyeballs in debt and struggling ever since. my mom told me its ok for me to move back home and on occasion suggested that it would be a smart thing to do. like mr. cardone, i chose to go into sales instead of going home. i can't live at home. for an overly independent 20-something even a short visit to the parents' place feels like wearing a straight jacket. i'm too proud to even consider it. where there is a will there is a way. :-)

Flick July 11, 2012 | 7:47 PM

This article suggests that a young American can pay their rent by mowing a lawn or doing "something." This is not the case--there are too many regions in America where one can't exist without a constant and moderate income stream. Roommates aren't an option for everyone, either.

Erica July 10, 2012 | 9:44 AM

I am a smart, driven college student living at home and saving my money until I get a "real" job and can move out on my own. Even if I had already graduated and was still living at home, it wouldn't be to take advantage of my parents, indulge in a vacation from job hunting or delay the reality of growing up. It would only be a temporary landing zone, and I'd probably feel more unsettled about living at home than my parents would.

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