My senior year of college is upon me, and many of my classmates are discussing what they will be doing after they walk across the stage and are handed their diplomas in may. Many students are interviewing like crazy to get the big job, others plan to go on for more schooling, and some haven’t given it much thought. Personally, I’ll be entering the MSIS graduate program at Dakota State University and teaching a couple of classes.

A very sizable number of my classmates have never really shown any ambition and never got jobs or joined clubs while in college. They do the bare minimum to pass their classes and don’t think much of it. They don’t seem to be terribly concerned about what they’re going to do after they graduate because they’ve never had to go it alone in the real world yet and will likely end up moving home after they graduate. If your son or daughter is planning on moving home after they graduate college, it can either be a blessing or a curse to both you and them. Some will work hard, live on nothing, and pay off their college debts while others will vegetate at home just as they had before they moved out for college.

If your child is going to move home after college, make sure that they know ahead of time that it’s a temporary situation for a specific reason and for a specific period of time. After that period of time, they have to go find their own apartment or other place to live. If your child is staying at home to find a job somewhere out in the real world for a few months or is working full-time and wants to pay off more debt by minimizing expenses for a couple of years, more power to them. If your child is just moving home by default and has no solid plans to move out at anytime in the near future, there’s a problem. They need to be struck by a dose of cold water and sent out into the world kicking and screaming.

You should not make it too comfortable for your child to live at home. You should make them pay for some things, such as their own groceries, perhaps a share of the utility bill or a reasonable amount of rent. It’ll be a lot easier for them to move out if they’re used to paying some amount of rent at home rather than going from 0 to paying $600 to $800 a month for an apartment somewhere.

Before you permit your child to move back in with you again, you should have an agreement as to what chores they will be responsible and what the rules of living at home should be. In fact, these details as well as the details of how long the child will be staying there and what conditions they must meet to stay there should be in writing, signed by both of you. That way there’s no disagreement to exactly what was agreed to.

A recent study from the Chicago Tribune found that an increasing number of young adults are living at home with their parents. In fact, there are 19 million Americans in the 18-34 range that live at home with their parents. Between the ages of 25 and 34, there are a whopping 4 million adults that still live with their parents!

If your child is moving home for the right reasons after college, it can be quite a blessing to them. If they have no ambition and plans for the future, you’ll wake up in 5 years and have a 30 year child living at home.