Living the college life of being young, wild and free definitely has its advantages and disadvantages. Whether you moved on campus, out of state, got your own place or decided to stay at home, there’s a huge transition from being in college to entering the adult life after graduation.
One big difference being the relationship you have with your parents. A lot of changes can happen after college graduation, and the relationship you have with your parents could be affected. Many factors in life can affect if your relationship changes for the better or worse. Here are a few examples of how life after college can bring you closer or bring distance in your relationship with your parents.
1. You’re forced to move back home
Moving is arguably the biggest change after college graduation that could be helpful or hurt the relationship with your parents. Whether you decide to move back home or move away, these conversations could be positive or negative. Some parents are happy to assist their new college graduate by letting them move back home. Finding a job that will be enough to support having your own place is very hard in today’s economy, so moving back home to save is a great way to keep the relationship close. Have a positive and responsible conversation with your parents about moving back home, and set any boundaries that will make it comfortable for the both of you.
Moving back home can also have negative effects on your relationship with your parents. The transition of having the freedom to do what you want in college to having rules again could be hindered once you’re back under your parents’ roof. Arguments and misunderstandings are quite likely to happen if an initial conversation was not had, or if moving back home wasn’t fully accepted. “I went away for college, and when I came back my relationship with my mother was very distant,” says Tabia Robinson, current graduate student of CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. “I was so used to being on my own, being by myself, and taking care of myself, and I think my mother felt like I didn’t need her anymore. Going back to living under her rules is kind of annoying and I’m taking necessary steps to move out and be on my own again.” Moving back home is definitely a big transition and sometimes really uncomfortable, but use this time to be productive, save money, and try to keep the peace with your parents in the meantime.
2. There’s physical distance between you
For some graduates, moving away and not going back home could affect the relationship as well. In some situations, the phrase “absence makes the heart grow fonder” turns out to be true and could help create a different type of relationship with your parents than if you were closer in distance. Abbey Williams, student from University of Wyoming says, “When I visit them I can hang out with them all day long and catch up, and they remind me that they're always around and they care. After leaving and not getting to see them very often, it's so nice to know I have two built-in best friends for life whenever things get rough and I have no one to turn to.” Having physical distance between does not have to be a bad thing, it can help you to build a long distance relationship that is strong, supportive, and even become a lot closer. Your parents will see that you can take care of yourself and be a responsible young adult.
3. You depend on them financially again
Along with moving, going back home because of certain financial reasons also has its positives and negatives. Parents understand that being on your own right after college is hard, and you may not get that amazing, full-time position right away. Most college graduates stay at home because they can’t afford to pay rent just yet, and having that safety net helps ease the stress of adulthood a little. However, issues come about when parents can’t assist as much as time goes on, there’s a time limit on how long you’re able to stay at home before you have to move out, or achieving financial stability takes longer than expected. Communicating with your parents on how you can return the favor while they are assisting you financially will help your parents and the relationship.
4. You become closer or grow distant
You will finally have more time to do things you’ve always wanted to do and spend time with friends and family after you graduate. Some will use this time be physically closer to their parents, while others will move away but still maintain a healthy relationship with each other.
Lauren, a graduate of Marymount University, says, “I graduated in Spring of 2016 and have been living with my parents since August 2016. I thought I was going to take a job in downtown DC, but the job got moved closer to my parents' home. After I graduated, I kept my apartment in Arlington but after the loss of both of my grandfathers, I was still reeling from that happened to me in my last semester, I decided to go home one day and I never left. My mother welcomed me with open arms and we have never been closer.”
While some parents would like to see their child more often after college by having them move back home or being in the same city or state, being physically apart does not have to have a negative effect on the relationship. It could actually help the relationship between you and your parents and bring you all closer because it will allow you to talk more often. A lot happens after you take off the cap and gown and replace it with your brand new business casual wardrobe, but it doesn’t all have to be negative or stressful. Sometimes your parents will be your number one supporters, and yes, things will change within the relationship, but they are still there to help you. Keeping the communication open, honest and respectful will help solve any problems that will come along after college.