3 Ways Your Relationship With Your Parents Changes Post-Graduation

By Kailey Walters on June 10, 2018

Life after graduation is undoubtedly a time of significant transition in many regards. To quote a classic graduation speech cliche, it is a new chapter in your book. And while that’s true in many ways — for your social life, your academic life, your career, etc. — one of the less frequently mentioned changes is your relationship with your parents.

After all, for the entirety of your lives up to now, your parents have probably played an immensely important role. They were there when you were six and you tripped over your untied shoelaces on the playground; they were the ones who imposed a curfew on you in middle school and high school; they saw you off on your first day of college. Even throughout college, your parents were likely a huge guiding force emotionally, mentally, psychologically, financially, etc. That’s not to say they won’t continue to be there for you in all those ways, because they surely will be. After graduation, however, your relationship with them undeniably starts to change — perhaps subtly, but still in noticeable, significant ways.

graduation, pose, woman


1. You move back home.

If you spent your college years living away from home, perhaps in a dorm on campus or in your own apartment, the transition from living on your own to being back home again with your parents is a big one. After spending four years learning how to be independent, moving back home to live with your parents could lead to a lot of different feelings — both for you and for your parents.

For one thing, being at home probably limits your freedom. Whereas before you may have been used to coming back to your room well past midnight and sleeping in past noon, being at home forces you to be more aware that your parents are also in the house and that they probably don’t want you to be coming back so late. As a result, your relationship with your parents could potentially become strained. For you in particular, it could turn into a struggle over wanting to live out the independent skills you’ve gained over the years, and trying not to upset your parents unnecessarily over the little things.

On the other hand, however, moving back home after a long period of being away can sometimes bring you closer to your parents. If you generally enjoy spending time with your parents and don’t feel burdened by their house rules, living at home again could be a period of rest and peace for you. If this is the case, take advantage of that time at home to strengthen your relationship with your parents. Spend time with them and offer to take care of some of the household chores and responsibilities. Doing so will show that, among the changes you experienced while at college, one of them was becoming more mature, respectful, and responsible.

airplane, sky, building


2. You move farther away from home.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the possibility that you move even farther away from your parents, or at least maintain some significant physical distance from them. Doing so can change your relationship with them in a variety of ways. Perhaps moving farther away gives you the chance to become even more independent and mature, so that you no longer need to rely on your parents for many things.

Yet, another option is that moving farther away could, in some regards, bring you closer to your parents. After all, being away for college most likely allowed you to appreciate your parents more because they were there for you during your difficult times and supported you no matter what. Being away from home post-graduation, in that sense, could lead to a heightened appreciation for your parents. Not only are you grateful for their constant support and love, but you’re also more aware of how much responsibility and effort are involved in paying bills, shopping for groceries, and doing a lot of adult-like things.

3. You realize that your parents are still growing and learning about life, too.

For most of your life, it was probably easiest to assume that your parents had the answers to everything. But now that you are an adult yourself and are learning to grapple with the challenges of adulthood, you realize — pretty quickly — that being an adult doesn’t mean you have all the answers. If anything, it means that you have even more questions as life continually springs new information and situations on you. Going through these challenges allows you to gain a different perspective on your parents, so that you can see them as more than just parents but as real, changing, developing people with their own flaws, questions, struggles, hopes, and aspirations.

Seeing them in this new light can help both you and your parents relate to one another more, potentially leading to the beginning of a new and wonderful relationship with them.

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