Sometimes the chickens come home to roost. The economic realities of life have changed all the rules…
Like the approximate 12.1%* unemployment among kids just graduating from college — NOT including college graduates that are taking any job they can find, well below their qualifications. Or the ones that have been giving up on their job search or opted to go back to school for an advanced degree because they can’t find work.
Many kinds of blended families exist, and one of the most common ones in recent years has become adult children and older parents.
This phenomenon requires a new paradigm. You no longer can be “Hotel Mom & Dad”. Rules have changed. When your kids were young, it may have meant that home was the place with free meals, room and laundry service, and gas in the car. Not anymore.
It’s time for some candid conversations about what this new situation is going to look like – for everyone. You want to be supportive and understanding – but, it is still your house and your rules.
“Who pays for what?”
This is going to depend on how much your adult kids are earning. Obviously, if they had a great job, they wouldn’t be back home. I think that after three months of a full-time job search, with you paying for all expenses, your adult child needs to find some work. That may be pumping gas or pumping coffee or pumping iron as a physical trainer. Their dream jobs? Maybe not. What college “promised” them? No.
But having them back home may be putting additional economic stress on you, that you didn’t count on either.
Come clean with your kids by showing them your bills. Show them ALL of your bills – pre and post their arrival. That includes: all utilities, food and extras that were the result of their arrival.
At the least, they should be paying for the increase. If they can, they should also be paying some sort of “rent.” Be gentle with this, because you want them to be saving for their eventual move-out.
Discuss other rules, as well. How do you feel about guests? – the kind that hang around and the kind that stay over. How about pets, and smoking, and how about the non-monetary “pitching-in and helping” rules? I think you should figure out how your kids can help with: shopping, yard work, and general schlepping around.
After the discussion, memorialize it in writing: seems very legal? Ok. It’s not. It may help to avoid any, “But, you said…, No I didn’t…” My other rule is one of courtesy. I’m a mom and I worry about my kids, regardless of their age. If they are going to be really late, or maybe not coming home – just ask them to give you a call. I just want to know that they are safe, and I’ll agree to do the same.
Give this a try and let me know how it goes.
Neale S. Godfrey is an acknowledged expert on family and children’s finances who has been in the financial field for more than 30 years. Learn more about Neale S. Godfrey…
*Huffington Post Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/08/college-graduates-jobs-unemployment_n_893495.html