NEW COLUMN – Dear Barb

The Voice is pleased to present the new Voice advice column: Dear Barb. Look for it every week beginning in July.

Dear Barb:

I just graduated, but have not been able to find a job. Therefore, I have no choice but to move back in with my parents. I feel really bad about this, as most of my friends seem to be moving forward with their lives. Any suggestions on how to make this move easier for my parents and myself?

Jamie in North Bay

Hi Jamie, good to hear from you. It must be very disappointing for you to have to move back home. I’m sure this is not the outcome you had envisioned for yourself when you finished school. However, you are not alone. Many university graduates are finding themselves in similar situations. In fact the number of adults in their twenties and living at home has almost doubled in the last 20 years. The main reason for this shift is monetary. The soaring cost of education, as well as the high cost of living is contributing to this unfortunate situation. So Jamie, you have lots of company. In fact, this situation is so common that the phrase “boomerang kids” has been used to describe this generation.

There are various things both you and your parents can do to make this transition easier. First of all, don’t see this as a failure on your part, but rather just a delay in your plans. In the meantime you will have to make some compromises, as returning home as an adult brings with it a lot of the responsibilities of an adult. You cannot expect your parents to do everything for you, as they may have done before you left home. As well as helping out whenever possible you can, also contribute financially as much as you are able. I’m sure your parents would be happy to have the help and this will assist you in feeling that you are doing your part.

Before the actual move it may be a good idea to sit down and have a discussion with your parents, as well as any siblings living in the home. Together you can work out a schedule where everyone does his or her share of the chores, including cooking, laundry and yard work. Remember you have been living on your own; Mom knows you can cook, clean and do laundry.

In addition, a good plan would be to decide how long you would need to stay at home. For example, three months, or until you get a job and have a bit of money saved; perhaps six months will be the decided time frame. This gives both you and your parents a goal to strive for, and to be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel. You will need to discuss with your parents what their expectations are for you, in regards to rules; will you be allowed to use the family vehicle, have friends in, sleep out, have friends sleep in, etc. Moreover, your parents must treat you as an adult. You have a right to be respected and to be allowed to make your own decisions about how you will live your life, while also respecting the rules set out by your parents. This can be hard for parents, as it is natural for them to fall into the parental role and want to make everything all right for their children.

Nonetheless, this is a workable situation, with a bit of effort and negotiation from both sides. The rewards could prove very beneficial when you are able to land that job, or move into our own place. Consequently, your parents will have the pride of knowing they raised a son who is someone they can be proud of.

Good luck Jamie and thanks for asking a very important question.

E-mail your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality: your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.