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Feature

Boomerang families

When Students Move Home After Graduation

It has become increasingly common for young adults to move back home with mom and dad after graduating from college. While going home may not be the first choice for the graduate or the rest of the family, studies indicate that today's parents may be more accepting of their graduate moving home, and students saw this period as a way to comfortably think about their next steps with less pressure.

To take a closer look at this so-called Boomerang phenomenon, The University of Minnesota Parents Association recently investigated the subject, including conducting original research. In a national survey of recent alumni, nearly 40% said they had moved back home with family for at least a short time after graduation. A separate national survey of parents of college students revealed that more than half of parents expected this move and predicted benefits in having their student home again.

Challenges

The transition from an empty nest to a full one is not trouble-free: Parents and graduates alike noted that they felt they had lost privacy when the family was reunited. Recent grads resented having to report their whereabouts and explain their routine, while parents anticipated that a full house required a traditional family relationship with shared chores and at least some information about where the young adult was going and when she expected to be home.

Major challenges for parents:

• Negotiating household rules, responsibilities, and expectations
• Recognizing their young adult's adulthood status
• Encouraging their young adult's job search
• Loss of privacy and establishing boundaries
• The additional cost of housing and supporting a young adult

Major challenges for students:

• Loss of independence and privacy
• Feeling like less of an adult
• Feeling embarrassed and dealing with negative stigma
• Decline in social and dating lives

Benefits

Students change in significant ways during the college years, and as young adults they and their parents appreciate the opportunity to establish a more equal, adult relationship with family members.

What parents appreciate:

• Spending time with their young adult, including family meals; their son's or daughter's company    and companionship
• Supporting their young adult; helping child save money
• Getting to know their child as an adult; developing a friendship

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