Best Ways to Comfort Your Unemployed Adult Child

A career coach and parent offers advice on what you should and shouldn't do to help your kid get back on his feet

by Carol Ross • Next Avenue
unemployed adult male image

If you’re a parent, you’ve likely given your children the confidence to make their way in the world. But what should you do to offer comfort if your recent graduate can’t find a job or your not-so-recent grad just lost one?

It’s a growing concern. A recent survey by the consulting firm Accenture of more than 1,000 young adults who graduated from college in 2011 and 2012 found that 32 percent of them don’t have full-time jobs.

First, Do No Harm
Well-meaning parents, unfortunately, may inadvertently make the situation worse by saying or doing the wrong things.

(MORE: From Dad to Grad: A Few Words of Advice)

If you want to be more helpful than hurtful, here’s what I suggest, based on my experience as a career coach and a parent:

Let’s start with what not to do.

Don’t ask more than once a week how the job search is going. If your child has news, he’ll tell you.

Don’t constantly fret over how your son or daughter is going to pay his rent or monthly bills. Your anxiety will make your kid's anxiety worse — and I'm assuming you’re not paying those expenses or your child isn’t living with you gratis. If your son or daughter is living with you, try not to constantly express concern about the added costs you're incurring as a result.

Don’t offer to connect your child with business contacts who aren't relevant to his or her career goals. That’ll just put your son or daughter in an awkward position if he can’t make use of the introduction.

Don’t encourage your child to get a graduate degree just to avoid being idle. Unless he or she truly wants to pursue higher learning, the amount of debt they'll incur may not be worth it. Sadly, there are many out-of-work grads who are discovering that their pricey degrees from a business school or law school don’t guarantee a job.

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Next: Still Jobless? 6 Tips to Get You Back on Your Feet

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Photo courtesy of Lasse Kristensen/

First Published Thu, 2013-05-23 14:55

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