Author Archives: Christina Newberry

Finding jobs on Kijiji and living with parents: An article on Yahoo.ca

I was quoted Friday in an article about adult children living at home for Yahoo.ca:

“The relationship between parents and their children has really changed over the last generation. Where parents are now seen much less as disciplinarian figures,” says Christina Newberry, author of The Hands-On Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home. “Parents are seen more as peers so the idea of going back and living with your parents is not so bad.”

Read the rest at Yahoo.ca.

This New Year, Resolve to Tackle Your Most Stressful Relationships

So much of the stress in our lives is caused by relationship challenges that we either have not acknowledged to ourselves, or that we have not acknowledged to others. This is true for all relationships, whether it’s with a spouse, a friend, an aging parent, or an adult child. We fall into the trap of expecting others to read our minds, or believing that everyone has the same expectations we do. This leads to huge amounts of underlying frustration, resentment, and stress that seep into all areas of our lives.

The worst part is that when we’re frustrated, angry, and resentful, we assume the worst of the people in our lives, rather than the best. That means when a challenge arises that we actually recognize as stressful, we are disinclined to give people the benefit of the doubt. We start to believe they are stressing us out on purpose, which escalates our frustration and resentment even further, so it’s a tough cycle to get out of!

The most important way to eliminate the hidden stress in any relationship is open communication. We really do need to tell people how we feel, and address minor snags in relationships before they blow up into huge problems that become so common we don’t even recognize they’re there – even though they cause us stress daily. The challenge is that we don’t necessarily know how to have those tough conversations. That’s why one of the most rewarding messages I get from families who have used my book as a guide is that it helped them get those tough conversations started – and make them productive. I’ve had stressed-out parents (and step-parents) tell me the book has saved their marriages, since they’re finally able to really talk about how they’re feeling, and start building an atmosphere of open communication.

May this new year bring you a new lease on all the difficult relationships in your life. Remember: Honesty may be difficult, but if you are clear, level-headed, fair, and reasonable, your openness will clear the path for much less stressful relationships all year long.

All the best to you and your family in 2014!

Are you (overly) involved in your adult child's career? [Video]

Here’s a video from The Wall Street Journal that summarizes an article the WSJ ran about parental involvement in their millennial children’s careers. I have to say, it makes me cringe. I just can’t imagine how being involved in your child’s job interviews, performance reviews, or salary negotiations can possibly cast a positive light on your child’s ability to perform a job independently.

I often say that although the current economic situation is one main reason why adult children move back home, the changed relationship between the generations is another important factor. Young adults today simply view their parents as more rightly involved in their lives than young adults did a generation or two ago. At age twenty, those born two generations ago were having forming new nuclear families with their children, not holding on to their parents. Their offices might have had “bring your child to work day” but never “bring your parents to work day.” It’s a huge cultural shift, and it will be interesting to see how it progresses. Will the millennials continue this trend or swing back the other way when they have their own children?

Here’s the video:

Who should pay for college tuition?

My advice was featured today in an article by allParenting:

Christina Newberry is the author of The Hands-On Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home and founder of the site Adult Children Living at Home. She says, “I paid my own college tuition through scholarships and part-time jobs and my parents took care of most of my housing expenses for the first two years. While what I did would likely not be possible with current tuition rates, I am a firm believer that it’s a good idea for kids to have a financial stake in their college education by paying at least some of their own 
tuition. Having some ‘skin in the 
game’ helps them take their years at school more seriously and feel a
 sense of ownership for their education. Similarly, if students are living 
with their parents to save money while attending school, I recommend they
 pay some kind of rent — even if it’s only a token amount or if the payment comes in the form of doing extra chores around the house. This all helps with the 
transition from childhood to adulthood and starts to create realistic 
expectations about what’s required to survive in the real world.”

Read the rest of the story at allParenting.com

A strange little video from the Wall Street Journal

Here’s a strange little video from the Wall Street Journal, titled “Living With Parents Can Lead to Financial Independence.”

Gosh, I hope so! “Can” is a troubling word here that implies sometimes adult kids do not become financially independent after living at home. Remember, once your children are adults, the main goal of any stay at home should be to get them to the stage where they don’t need you anymore — that is, to get them to financial independence.

In any case, it’s peculiar in that there seems to be just one example of a woman (in her 30s, so I’m not sure she’s a “girl,” which is what the guest calls her) who happened to avoid being personally hit by the housing crisis of 2008 because she was living with her parents at the time. There’s no actual information about how living with your parents could be seen as financially empowering, which is what the title seems to promise. It would be more accurate to title this video “Living with your parents will save you money.” But this is obvious, no?

One final thing before I actually show you the video. The jokey way these two men chat about the idea of living at home troubles me a bit. Essentially they seem to be saying, Ah, well, as log as you’re all buddies, it will work out just fine. I’d suggest this is the kind of attitude that leads families to end up in situations of conflict. Planning (a timeline and expectations for the stay at home) and budgeting are both hugely important to making the situation work.

Anyway, here’s the video. What do you think? (Note: There’s a 15-second ad before the video starts.)

Planning for your adult child's return home

My advice was featured today in EverythingZoomer.com’s Boomerangst column, which dealt with a family whose adult son is contemplating a move home after several months of unemployment:

“It’s tempting to think that everything’s going to go really smoothly, but that rarely happens by itself,” says Christina Newberry, founder of the website adultchildrenlivingathome.com and the author of The Hands-on Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home.

You can read the rest of the article, including my advice about two documents every family should put together before adult kids move home, here.

Advice for living with boomerang kids: Videos

I recently had the chance to do a series of interviews with Rob Carrick, the personal finance columnist at national Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. You can now watch videos of all three of those interviews online:

_

Here are a couple of pictures from the video shoot. Enjoy the videos!

rob carrick 3 roc carrick 2

Parents taking out loans to fund 9% of their kids' college costs: Infographic

Online lender NetCredit.com has created an interesting infographic packed with stats about the costs of post-secondary education and how those costs impact student debt.

I’m not surprised to see that 28% of the average student’s college costs are paid for out of their parents’ income and savings. (Though I do encourage all students to pay for as much of their own schooling as they can to give themselves a sense of ownership and a meaningful stake in their own success.)

I am concerned to see, though, that 9% of the average student’s college costs are paid for through parent borrowing. That means the parents, not the students, are taking on loans to pay for college. Let’s hope those parents are being paid back!

Take a look at the infographic below for some other interesting stats and some tips on paying loans back after graduation.

Is it harder for young adults to find jobs than it was a decade ago?

Yesterday, I was a guest on CBC Radio’s national Cross Country Checkup program, which tackled the issue of whether it’s harder for young adults to find jobs than it was a decade ago – and what that means in terms of getting them launched into independence. It was an interesting program, and I found myself wishing I could jump in at many parts of the show, not just in the segment in which I was interviewed.

To the mom who said she was anticipating one of her three kids was likely to boomerang home because 26% of young adults do so, I wanted to say she might want to prepare for two of them: In Canada, the actual number of young people aged 20-29 living at home according to the most recent census is 42.3%. (It varies across the country, of course. In Toronto, which has the most adult children living at home, the number is actually 56.3%)

I had a great twitter interaction with Sumaiya Ahmed, who took some ribbing from guest host Suhana Meharchand for suggesting parents should help their adult children network to find a job. It turns out we agree that parents can be a positive force in their children’s job search, but that it’s also possible to take that help too far.

I wanted to talk to some of the young people who called in saying that it was just too hard to find work that was fulfilling, and that they were giving up high-paying jobs (and expecting financial help from their parents) to pursue opportunities that better aligned with their dreams. I wanted to tell them that pursing your dreams is certainly a worthwhile endeavor, but that in your thirties it’s not your parents job to pay for it (it can be financially challenging for them, too), and sometimes your job will simply not be the source of your life’s fulfilment. Certainly the jobs you have to take on to build experience in the early stages of your career are likely to be less than you’d dreamed. But you need to build experience and gain skills that provide value to an employer before you have the bargaining power to craft your dream career.

All of that to say that if you missed the show, you can listen to it here. My segment begins at about 1:16:00.