Making It Work When College Grads Move Back Home

Boomerang Kids: children who move back home after graduating college. CBS/AP

The good news: Your son or daughter has graduated college.

The potentially bad news: He or she has returned to the nest, unable to afford to live on his or her own, due to the recession, job losses or unavailability, crushing student loan debt, and other factors.

A recent Pew Research survey found that almost one-in-five grown children (aged 18-34) now lives with his or her parents. And of those grown children, about a-third say they used to live independently elsewhere before returning home.

The phenomenon has come be known as "The Boomerang Generation."

So, what's a parent to do to keep harmony in the household and make this tricky time manageable, even beneficial for all involved?

Dr. Janet Taylor, a psychiatrist who herself has four daughters - one of whom recently moved back home after graduating from college - offered some sage advice on "The Early Show Saturday Edition."

"The reality is, they come back!" Taylor observed.

But, she says, "It doesn't have to be all negative. When your kids come back, they can be a source of social support. They can help out economically. And you really get a chance to establish a different relationship - as adults."

Taylor's Tips:

Establish a Timetable:
It's key to establish how long this housing arrangement is going to last. This is negotiable when absolutely necessary, but it's important that everyone understand the living arrangement will last six months, eight months, a year -- whatever you all decide. It's also important to establish what the goals will be for the grad in finding a job. One parent suggested that returnees apply for a job each day they live under their parents' roof. These have to be stipulated early on.

Clarify House Rules: Understanding the household rules is definitely necessary for everyone. College kids are used to doing what they want, when they want. So establishing mutual expectations for curfews, household chores, overnight guests, or even noise are important to work out early on. Parents can list three things that they absolutely cannot live with, and grown kids must respect this.

Consider Charging Rent: It is absolutely OK for parents to charge rent. There's no free lunch in the real world, so if a grown-child is able to pay rent, he or she should be asked to pay some amount you al agree upon. This can also include utilities, cable, or other benefits they're enjoying. Or if parents feel odd taking money from their child, one parent suggested they can collect rent money and return it to them when they leave, to help them in their new home or toward their next egg.

Avoid Slipping Into Old Roles: Try to avoid falling into traditional parent and child roles. This is difficult, but parents should steer clear of doing traditional things such as loaning their grown kid money, and doing their laundry. These are grown-kids, not teenagers anymore. And college grads should avoid expecting these things, as well, although this means they should be treated with respect as a grown-adult.

Don't Over-Parent: Parents should not get overly involved in their kids' lives and personal relationships. This is not healthy for kids or parents, and parents need to respect their kids' growing independence. Creating a dictatorship doesn't help them grow as self-reliant individuals. Parents want to create a comfortable and yet uncomfortable environment.
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