December 29, 2009 / 10:41 AM / in 8 years

Parents should show "tough love" to graduates

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - With growing numbers of graduates returning to the family home after college, parents should be supportive -- but not too much, the British government warns on Tuesday.

<p>Graduating students enter the Paladin stadium during the commencement ceremony at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina May 31, 2008. REUTERS/Larry Downing</p>

Allow them some time to relax once they graduate but don’t let a few weeks turn into months, it says, and don’t make the home environment so comfortable that they don’t want to leave.

“Sometimes, it really is necessary to show tough love,” says advice published online by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

”If you are making life too comfortable at home, why would they get a job? If you are providing free board and lodgings, a well stocked fridge, washing and ironing done, plus an allowance, there’s not much drive there.

“So cut back to help increase their motivation.”

Graduates are facing the toughest jobs market in years as the recession bites, but parents should resist any temptation to nag, the advice says.

“Nagging can make young people feel more stressed and makes the failure to get a job worse,” it adds.

Parents should not dismiss ideas but should encourage their children to be realistic.

“Yes, some people will make it as actors and film script writers but many just waste away the years,” the guide says.

“People often pursue careers such as this alongside a job, so encourage them to get a job to increase their independence and so they can support themselves on their dream path.”

The guide, drawn up by psychologist Denise Taylor, also aims to familiarize parents with the range of options and advice available to recent graduates as they search for jobs.

They should be aware of the pressures their children can be under.

“Young people may have been excited at the thought of getting a great graduate job, but after graduation, the reality hits,” it says.

”Being jobless can affect their self esteem. Their plans have been put on hold and they are likely to be earning a lower wage than they imagined.

“It’s also likely they have had to move back home to live after spending three years being independent.”

Earlier this month, the Office for National Statistics revealed more people in their 20s or 30s were living with their parents than at any time in the past 20 years.

Some 25 percent of men and 13 percent of women aged 25 to 29 still live with their parents.

The “Parent Motivators” guide is on www.direct.gov.uk/graduates

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