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Don’t let your ‘cuckoo’ graduates get too comfortable...

PUBLISHED: 15:48 25 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:33 25 September 2017

So they've graduated - well done - but don't let them get too comfortable back home...

So they've graduated - well done - but don't let them get too comfortable back home...

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Opinion: The kindest thing you can do for your home-bird graduates is to show them the door (nicely), says Sharon Griffiths.

Cuckoo in the nest? Don’t make them too comfortable…

It’s that time of year when parents are criss-crossing the country, cars weighed down with laptops, kettles, duvets and students. All leaving home and eager to start a brand-new life.

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, many brand-new graduates are home again, they and their battered possessions showing the wear and tear of the last three years. As the summer holidays and post-exam celebrations drift into autumn and an uncertain future, they’re wondering what to do.

It’s not easy, especially for those of us out in the sticks away from big cities and job opportunities. Dick Whittington might have done alright with a cat and a spotted hanky. Don’t think he’d get very far now.

Most new graduates, of course, are just home short-term while they find their feet and a job. Then, fortified with a few months home cooking and unlimited hot water, they’re ready to launch themselves into the world.

Others take longer…

After all, if you’re getting free food and lodging, use of the car, your washing done, as well as sleepover rights for boy/girlfriend then why would you want to rush away?

And that’s how the rot sets in. I hear disturbing stories of too many capable, qualified twenty-somethings still showing no signs of progress two years or more after leaving university.

We all want to help our children find their place in the world. Both mine bounced back at various times - as soon as we’d got rid of one, his brother would arrive with a van load of possessions – but it’s meant to be short-term help, not a long-term lifestyle choice.

If you can live a comfortable life without having to get off your backside then the incentive to get a job diminishes daily. Idleness is very addictive. The longer it goes on, the harder it is to get going, to get a proper grip on life until it can become a real problem.

My niece currently has two recent graduates home again around her kitchen table. In between helping them with job applications and flat hunting she has them looking after animals, visiting ageing relations, cooking meals, doing charity runs and generally making themselves useful. She’s resisting the temptation to mother them too much, she says, because they’re not children any more. She wants them to WANT to move out, if only because they want peace from her endless chivvying.

Home is the place where, when you have to go here, they have to take you in.

Of course. But sometimes the kindest thing we can do for our children is to roll up the welcome mat and give them a little nudge out of the nest.

How else will they learn to fly?

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