Paul L. Caron

Sunday, July 26, 2015

WSJ: Advice For Parents With Children Living At Home After College

BasementWall Street Journal, They’re Back! How to Cope With Returned College Grads, by Rob LaZebnik (Writer, The Simpsons):

Congratulations. Two months ago, your kid graduated from college, bravely finishing his degree rather than dropping out to make millions on his idea for a dating app for people who throw up during Cross Fit training. If he’s like a great many of his peers, he’s moved back home, where he’s figuring out how to become an adult in the same room that still has his orthodontic headgear strapped to an Iron Man helmet.

Now we’re deep into summer, and the logistical challenges of your grad really being home are sinking in. You’re constantly juggling cars, cleaning more dishes and dealing with your daughter’s boyfriend, who not only slept over but also drank your last can of Pure Protein Frosty Chocolate shake.

But the real challenge here is a problem of your own making. You see, these children are members of the Most-Loved Generation: They’ve grown up with their lives stage-managed by us, their college-acceptance-obsessed parents. Remember when Eva, at age 7, was obsessed with gymnastics…for exactly 10 months, which is why the TV in your guest room sits on top of a $2,500 pommel horse?

Now that they’re out of college, you realize what wasn’t included in that $240,000 education: classes in life skills and decision-making.

With your kid at home, you find that he’s incapable of making a single choice on his own. Like when you’re working and he interrupts to ask how many blades is the best number for a multi-blade razor. Or when you’ve just crawled into bed and hear the familiar refrain of, “Mom, what can we eat?” All those years being your kid’s concierge and coach have created a monster.

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the end of this thread is like the meme "boomer dad" or "old economy steve"

it was up hill both ways in your day, right?

"decided to make the Navy my career, bought my first (ever!)"
at 22 years old. . . do you think a navy man could do that now?

Posted by: terry malloy | Jul 28, 2015 11:42:33 AM

When I graduated from high school in 1970, coming back home to live wasn't an option, In fact, I can't recall anybody who thought going back home was even on the table.

PS My high school graduation gift was a suitcase.

PPS My draft number was 350.

Posted by: Dale Spradling | Jul 27, 2015 2:48:01 PM

I was literally abandoned as a kid on my 12th birthday in January in IL and assigned to the IL Soldiers & Sailors Children's School (ISSCS). When I was 18, 6 mos before HS graduation, I was given a cake, a card and notice to GTFO. I joined the Navy during Vietnam because - WTF else? By my 19th birthday, I had been promoted twice, earned my GED, trained as an Engineering Aide (draftsman-surveyor) in the Sea Bees, upgraded my transportation from walking to bicycle to used Honda 350 and seen FL & CA. By my 22 birthday, I decided to make the Navy my career, bought my first (ever!) home, and earned my AS degree in drafting. At 39, I retired as a Warrant Officer with my B.Arch. and my credentials for surveying and teaching. I always worked part-time on or off base, so I immediately found a part-time job with UPS in the evening and used my GI Bill to earn my M.Arch. History. I kept the UPS job when I was hired in local Planning & Building, as well as teaching on weekends. Retired at 59 from both but still teaching. My sister, who didn't have the option of military service, finally earned her BA in PE after 8 yrs, and went on to earn her Ed.D. in Adaptive Phys. Ed. as well as be honored as a Teacher of the Year and by Special Olympics.
Now I look at my husband's family: 3 sisters and all 6 of their kids at home (ages 23-35, one with his "fiancee"), all barely HS grads, 4 grandkids between them, all of them on everything but roller-skates, and only 1 employed full-time. My sisters-in-law have umbilical cords of tungsten. When a boy turns 18, he should be given a cake, a card and a notice to GTFO in 30 days. Otherwise, they become like herpes and luggage: mostly useless, extremely embarrassing, often in the way, and you'll never get rid of them.

Posted by: Morey Soffo | Jul 27, 2015 12:43:24 PM

The jobs are there.. just not in Austin/SiliconValley/LA/NY... Look to other places, we need young professionals too!

Posted by: Rillins | Jul 27, 2015 11:07:28 AM

When searching for a job, you need to ask yourself what skills do you have to offer that will benefit the company. If the answer is none, your job prospects are very slim. Improve your skillset and you greatly improve your chances of getting a job.

Posted by: Larry J | Jul 27, 2015 8:45:32 AM

P.S. The growing evisceration of corporate job training (see Wharton management prof Peter Cappelli for more on this) and offshoring of white collar work to developing nations with their own oversupply of college graduates will only exacerbate the "overeducated and un/underemployed" phenomenon here in the US.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jul 27, 2015 8:07:35 AM


I can tell you exactly how many kids have degrees in area/gender/ethnic studies: in 2013, the most recent year NCES has data, 8,900 out of about 1.85 MILLION four-year graduates, had such degrees. That's less than one half of one percent. Have any other strawmen for us to knock down? P.S. We are graduating more master's and PhD's these days than Boomers were getting bachelor's degrees in the mid 1970s, also per NCES. Vocational majors like business, nursing, STEM, etc are way up, liberal arts and humanities are down. And almost 200,000 MBAs are bestowed every year.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jul 27, 2015 8:05:15 AM

"Living in Parents Basement

Gaduated 6 months ago"

I could overlook the missing apostrophe in the phrase "Parents' Basement". But "GADuated"? It's hard to accept the writer's smug disdain when he can't be bothered to spell-check his oh-so-clever meme.

Posted by: artmetz | Jul 27, 2015 7:55:24 AM

"Living in Parents Basement

Gaduated 6 months ago"

I could overlook the missing apostrophe in the phrase "Parents' Basement". But "GADuated"? It's hard to accept the writer's smug disdain when he can't be bothered to spell-check his oh-so-clever meme.

Posted by: artmetz | Jul 27, 2015 7:55:13 AM

I can't believe that nobody has mentioned the many job opportunities for kids with degrees in art history, anthropology, or even women's studies.

Posted by: Doug | Jul 27, 2015 7:34:31 AM

"Most however can't think their way out of a wet paper bag and sit there feeling damp until mom gets home to handle the problem."

You beat a dog you failed to train because it refuses to train itself.

You're blaming the youths for that? I seem to recall Reagan winning 49/50 states in 1984. The corporatization of america and the income inequality that resulted was a direct result of the boomer voter block. Nice work guys.

Why don't you kids want to join the army? I'm sure we won't invade some other country on a whim and spend 10 years trying to keep it together only to leave and have it fall into power drill to the eyes anarchy. Then, throw opiates at the survivors instead of expensive PTSD care. Sign me up.

Trump is the president this country deserves.

Posted by: terry malloy | Jul 27, 2015 6:55:05 AM

As a biologist I know that every species on the planet except ours kicks loser offspring out of the nest to make it or perish. Success doesn't depend on children taking their parents' jobs; if they have anything of substance to offer they can go create their own by providing a service that people need. Natural selection used to deal with useless genetic material, now it swamps our societies, draining limited resources. Normal grown children need to be useful to deserve those resources.

Posted by: Joelscapes | Jul 27, 2015 6:18:00 AM

"Advice: retire and let the younger generation have an opportunity to make a living."

Oh please. The ones who want to and know how are doing just fine. Most however can't think their way out of a wet paper bag and sit there feeling damp until mom gets home to handle the problem. Face it, someone who goes home after college to live with mom and dad will never make a good employee.

Posted by: Real | Jul 27, 2015 6:13:25 AM

Steve D - no one was "screwed" out of anythng. People were overpromised things by politicians. I'm in the older section of Gen X, and in my youth even I knew that to count on pensions and social security is to count on purple unicorns for my living.

They knew it then, they should know it now: nothing in life is guaranteed. It sounds like you're part of the parenting crowd that Prof. Caron is referring to.

Posted by: I Callahan | Jul 27, 2015 4:29:49 AM

While it's true that many of us have to delay retirement, depriving many young folks of our mid-level jobs, there has always been an employer who is hiring and provides food, clothing, shelter, and a sense of purpose. I joined the Army at the suggestion of my father and have always felt that that was the best advice a father could give his son.

Posted by: Lance o Lot | Jul 27, 2015 4:24:03 AM

Wait ... since when do millenials use razors?

Posted by: TheEpicure | Jul 26, 2015 9:49:06 PM

If your grown son has no idea how many blades are appropriate for a razor, that's his problem. Don't lay your poor parenting on all of us. Some of us have realized that we live in a real world where real bad things happen, and understand how much the number of blades in our razor matters. Monsters breed monsters.

Posted by: Ike | Jul 26, 2015 5:08:06 PM

Terry Malloy: Couldn't possibly have anything to do with their employer screwing them out of their pensions, could it?

Posted by: Steve D | Jul 26, 2015 2:45:20 PM

To be fair to the millennials, it's hard to move on their own when there are not enough good paying jobs for them to go to. Many of them would LIKE to move on their own but don't make enough to live on their own. And getting a room mate is not an option for many because their friends are in the same boat.

Posted by: Astorix | Jul 26, 2015 12:09:27 PM

When your last kid moves out, sell the house and move into a 1 bedroom condo.

Posted by: TS | Jul 26, 2015 10:05:35 AM

Advice: retire and let the younger generation have an opportunity to make a living.

Forgot to save anything?

Well . . . it has to be the young folk's fault that I didn't save enough to retire. It can't be the boomer generation's fault for being selfish, shortsighted, and ripping up the rails of economic prosperity.

Posted by: terry malloy | Jul 26, 2015 8:27:10 AM