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college graduates back home--- anybody else?

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authenticnow posted 6/16/2014 06:01 AM

Transition time. Wow, this is more difficult than I thought it would be. DD graduated in May. H and I have a great relationship with her. She's the kid who always worked hard, did the right thing, kicked butt in college, graduated with honors, high GPA, etc.

So, now she's home. It's been kind of hard and it caught me off guard. Here's how I see it: DD is struggling. She left all her friends, her boyfriend (he lives about two hours away), her own place, her very busy routine. She's looking for a job, is living back home with us as an adult (she left as a kid!), and she's not in touch with any of her HS friends so she's bored. I know she's stressed about finding the right job, or if she'll even be able to find a job. It was so much different than when I graduated a million years ago. Job were knocking at my door.

What I'm finding annoying is her attitude, and this is what's throwing me off because we've always been buds and I'm not sure where my sweet daughter went. Do they come back from college knowing everything? She's so negative. She puts things down and it hurts my feelings. Examples: "We should have real dogs, our dogs don't play." "I'm really not loving townhouse life, I wish we had a house" (we downsized to a townhouse before she got home from school so we could move back to NY, the area that we AND THE KIDS both love), "Mom, you really don't have to hang things on every wall, it looks cluttered". And, yesterday I drove her to a community lake that you can cheaply join in our town (I was thrilled and we love to go to the lake together). I wanted to show her. Her response was, "It looks skeevy".

Is she so worldly now that H and I know nothing and our measly life here is no longer good enough for her? Like I said, this is an awesome kid who is my heart and just writing this makes me want to cry because..... who is this child?

It's a huge transition for all of us. H and I have been having a rough time, too. We realize that we never argue unless it's about the kids and that's been a little scary for me. Thankfully we've been talking about it. Friday night there was an issue and I was feeling very, very frustrated and sad and Saturday morning H brought it up and we hashed it out in a very good way, with good communication and it made me realize how so very far we've come.

This got lengthy but basically I guess I wanted to ask if anybody else who has college kids back at home is dealing with similar issues?

fireproof posted 6/16/2014 06:17 AM

Focus on your activities and set ground rules- hold her responsible for helping with dishes etc.

I did not live at home straight after college but I have seen and heard people who are going through the same thing.

I think it boils down to being focused on college. You are technically suppose to get a job and house, marriage, etc.

It is scary when you hear of people in college getting top jobs and here you are followed the rules and can't find a job. It is frustrating. She is taking it out on you and what else isn't going right without looking inward would be my guess.

The thing is when you don't have a job looking for a job should be your job. Also helping more around the house and networking and letting friends and family know I am looking for an opportunity.

You can't get her a job and shouldn't because it is her responsibility but you can help guide by suggestions which she may accept or not but that is her choice. As far as treatment hold her accountable and tell her either her attitude is not helping or ask her what is going on but I wouldn't when everything is up in the air with her life lessen or accept less than behavior from her because keeping her accountable will help her.

Also if there is a field she is interested ask her to check out/research and go ahead and take the test for grad school. I think the scores are valid for a few years and she has a better chance now than waiting with her skills and experience taking a test. After working it is a lot harder to go back and take tests.

She will be ok but she needs to work at it and that includes with her parents.

Just my few cents. Good luck!

authenticnow posted 6/16/2014 06:23 AM

You know what, your first sentence is where I need to start! She'd get so angry when one of her housemates at school would leave dishes in the sink, yet I go to sleep with an empty sink and wake up to her dirty dishes! How is that different?

As far as a job, I see her every day applying for jobs like crazy. We told her that if something full time doesn't kick in soon she has to get something locally part time so she has money coming in. She had a phone interview last week that seems to have gone really well.

I hear what you're saying--- I graduated in January, had a full-time teaching job and got married in February. H was working full time by then, too. Things are so different now.

Thanks for the feedback.

confused girl posted 6/16/2014 06:45 AM

Went through a similar thing.

Have you told her that she hurt your feelings? That was the wake-up moment for our son; when I decided not to "just smile" and instead call him on his rudeness. The next time he said something that hurt me, in a low, calm voice I told him that his comment hurt me very much. Then I changed the subject and didn't make a big deal about it. His behavior changed dramatically after that. I think he just didn't realize what he was doing.

She is a good girl and she is scared. That doesn't mean she gets to treat you poorly though.

I am a believer that sometimes we talk things to death. Sometimes a simply placed sentence or two that cause them to think can have a huge impact.

Good luck to her on her job search.

authenticnow posted 6/16/2014 06:50 AM

Have you told her that she hurt your feelings?
No. I can so relate about sometimes talking things to death, though. I just need to calmly and simply tell her the next time she does it. I know that it isn't her intention and that she's probably so stuck in her own head right now that she's not even realizing how she's acting.

Thank you for your very helpful post .

NaiveAgain posted 6/16/2014 07:02 AM

Graduating from college has its own special type of stress. She is grieving the loss of the life she had while in college, she is stressed out over finding a job that will suit her new skills, and she is making another transition. Coming home as an adult is different than living at home as a child.

If she has student loans, there is an additional stressor. She is missing her friends and her boyfriend and her old routine. And not just bored, but I am sure she is lonely for her peers.

So she is dealing with a lot right now. But it doesn't give her the right to be rude to you. Have a talk with her, tell her you understand she is going thru a lot right now, that she misses her old life, that you are there for her, but that you also need her to relate to you a bit more respectfully....

authenticnow posted 6/16/2014 07:05 AM

NaiveAgain, exactly right. We helped her and paid for about half of it. The other half is her responsibility. We went over all of it on Friday night with her (which is when the 'issue' began and I left the room aggravated, leaving her and H to sort it out). The loan is a definite stressor.

I will talk to her, thank you.

Sad in AZ posted 6/16/2014 07:08 AM

Boundaries, sweetie. She's trampling on yours. Pretty much every situation you've mentioned is NONE OF HER BUSINESS. It's ok to tell her this. Perhaps a gentler way of starting would be the phrase, "I'm sorry you feel that way" then changing the topic of conversation.

It's so hard when they're not your little babies anymore, but they still need you to set an example for them. It's just another phase of life. I know you'll both navigate it with grace.

authenticnow posted 6/16/2014 07:34 AM

Thanks, Sazzy. Each phase comes with so many challenges and I get so tired!!!!!!!!!!

Is there an easy phase? Please tell me there is.

metamorphisis posted 6/16/2014 08:43 AM

This is very common in my parents house. I have several younger siblings as you know. They all have different personalities but a few of them come home from school for the summers or are back home after graduating. Apparently they didn't just get a degree but their tuition payments also bought them the right to claim they know everything.

It's annoying but I know I was equally insufferable at that age. I was just figuring out who I was as an adult and felt the need to separate myself from the things I grew up with. I often want to say to one sister in particular when she's complaining about everything in my parents home, "You know, that may be true but considering your entire existence is subsidized from these people …your car, your clothes, the roof over your head etc.. I'd knock that chip off your shoulder". . I mean it's all well and good to complain about what's for dinner but not so much when your stuffing your mouth with the free food in between complaints.

I think there is a humility and lessons that come from REAL life. School is a very big step, but rent and bills, and juggling responsibilities as a grown up generally makes you appreciate your parents a lot more. By the time I had kids I wanted to call my parents and apologize every other day.

Whalers11 posted 6/16/2014 09:54 AM

It really sucks being a college educated adult and having to live at home with your parents. You are supposed to have freedom and money and independence and a job. Unfortunately, not everyone who graduates from college walks right into that situation.

However, it doesn't give her a reason to disrespect you - and that is what she is doing.

I don't have any advice other than to tell you your house so your rules. Be very clear about what you expect and if she can't live with it, she is free to find other arrangements for the time being.

rachelc posted 6/16/2014 10:13 AM

while I don't have this exact situation, I do have a recent college graduate who moved in with his single sister while he finds an apartment and a roommate. He has a job and this is in the capitol city of our state, of which we live 120 miles from.

I received a call last night from her crying, saying he's being a brat and they just cant' get along and he needs to move out now. not july 1st. I had to resist a chuckle, namely because at age 25 and 22, they still want me to referee sibling disputes. Secondly, because my son has no idea how to live with a woman. I did give him some pointers and of course 10 seconds later she texted me a picture of a wedding dress she likes. No, she['s not even dating anyone but I guess that fight blew over fast.

When he moved in with her Memorial day weekend they should have had some conversations about how this would work. They did not. Boy, have they both learned a lot from this. They both say they're never getting married.

I guess I kinda t/j this. sorry! I know the move back happens. While we didn't have one move back from college we did have one move back after he got out of active Army. That was... interesting. However, military ppl make great house guests!

nowiknow23 posted 6/16/2014 10:44 AM


authenticnow posted 6/16/2014 12:30 PM

After reading all these responses I am feeling stronger in the fact that I can exert my boundaries with her in a productive way. All things I know how to do, but needed the reminder.

Interestingly, today she woke up with a good attitude and we had a lovely morning together.

I'll keep all your suggestions in mind for future use though (I'm sure I'll need them), so thank you. And, thank you for the hugs .

GabyBaby posted 6/16/2014 12:43 PM

My daughter is headed into her senior year at college, so not a graduate yet, but I've dealt with some of this attitude.
Oddly enough this attitude was my DD21 BEFORE she left for college. Once she was on her own and out of the daily influence of XWH, she had to grow up a bit. She started to see that the world didn't, in fact, revolve around her and that other people wouldn't dance to her tune, no matter how cute she is. By the end of her first year of school, she was a lot more pleasant.

today she woke up with a good attitude and we had a lovely morning together.

This quote is how we lived for a while (DD's moods dictated the kind of day we would have).
It was so stressful that, while I love DD, we dreaded when she would come home for visits.

DEFINITELY set boundaries. I had to sit with DD and have a "come to Jesus" talk. Her attitude did change and she's respectful of the others in the house now.
Oddly enough, DS18 just graduated from high school and DD21 is also home for the summer. The first thing H and I did was to have a family meeting to lay out the ground rules. They're both adults and though they may not work, they can (and will) contribute to the household or find somewhere else to crash.
I dont expect to come home from work to find them lounging on the couch and a sinkful of dishes, etc.
So far, so good....

[This message edited by GabyBaby at 12:44 PM, June 16th (Monday)]

kernel posted 6/16/2014 18:29 PM

I'm with confused girl about letting her know that she is hurting your feelings. Isn't it weird how your kids act their worst at home with you - things they would never consider saying or doing at anyone else's home? That little paradox always drove me nuts. I know it means they feel safe with you but it doesn't make it okay. Like others have said, set your boundaries with her.

On the job topic, has she considered an Americorps position as a way to gain experience? They have jobs all over the country doing tons of different things. My youngest DD is finishing her second Americorps year in July and will be a full time "real job" employee with her Americorps placement company the next day. It's her dream job with her dream employer. It's worth considering and they might have positions in your area/region. The educational benefit can help pay off student loans - my DD will pay off 2/3 of hers this way. Also, her loans are in forbearance (don't have to make payments) while she is serving with Americorps. Some of the positions provide housing, some don't. In general they also offer a small living stipend so you're still living like a poor college student. Sorry to t/j!

purplejacket4 posted 6/16/2014 18:49 PM

I work in college health so I've been seeing these kids for the last two months. They have extreme "failure to launch" fear. They all know the story of the 30 year old still living in the basement. They're afraid of talking about it lest it become real. I think some boundaries with an atta girl talk would help. Oh and if you could knock off some baby boomers who won't retire letting her get her foot through the door that would help too.

[This message edited by purplejacket4 at 6:50 PM, June 16th (Monday)]

StrongerOne posted 6/16/2014 18:49 PM

I was your DD many decades ago. (You think the job market is bad now? Try a liberal arts degree in 1982.)

My attitude lasted exactly three days. My mom -- very sweet woman, puts everyone before herself -- finally said, "you will NOT be disrespectful if you are living in this house. Be respectful or move out."

I got with the program.

And then a got a waitressing job so I could move out and live with a college friend.

I would tell her what you said at the start -- how you feel for her situation, and why. But that does not give her license to be an a$$.

Seriously, the snottiness has to stop. She needs to act like an adult.

sad12008 posted 6/16/2014 21:53 PM

The transition from college graduation is, IMHO, one of the greatest one deals with in life. You leave behind an environment largely populated by peers, are ripped from your network of close friends, and go from having a very clearly delineated life goal ("graduation") to ....what? So, you're dead-on, an, with recognizing the struggle & angst your DD is dealing with.

That said, it's okay to call her on her attitude. She's an adult now and she needs to understand her words hurt ...and that when she's getting room & board, it isn't cool to be dogging out the amenities, decorating, and choice in canines.

Sounds like she's stressed & unhappy and is lashing out some...time to communicate clearly that though you empathize with her losses (leaving friends, etc.) and stresses, you don't need her being a little black rain cloud on your parade.

Good luck, I know it's no picnic to have 3 adults under one roof! (((an)))

Kuwaited posted 6/16/2014 22:23 PM

I had to smile at this.

My daughter is 20 and will be a junior in college this fall. And to a point...she has a similar attitude at times when she comes home.

I don't know if it's my own bent or my engineer background...but I'm highly pragmatic about it all.

I get...I totally get...that they are at that age and position in life where they know absolutely everything and we are simply stupid (apparently our college education's statute of limitations has expired).

I just chuckle at it and when required throw it back at her with a laugh. I reckon it's as much a phase as when they went thru teenaged-ness. My mother was quite good at telling me I wasn't nearly as smart as I thought I was.

Honestly.....I just enjoy the entertainment value and don't take it personally. Because let's face it, they WILL over estimate their "smartness" and it WILL act as an object lesson. Lord knows I was there once.

[This message edited by Kuwaited at 10:24 PM, June 16th (Monday)]

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