It can be hard for parents to know how to support their child after they graduate.
As thousands of young people across the UK know, this is a very challenging year to graduate or be finishing university. With high graduate unemployment levels causing even more competition for jobs, many young people feel deflated and anxious about the future.
While this is hard for the student or young person themselves, it can also be hard for the people around them to offer support, such as parents. If you are a graduate parent, you might worry about their future job prospects and how they will ever earn enough money to buy a house. While all students and graduates are different, and many graduates have jobs they enjoy, it’s normal to worry about the future.
In this guide, we are going to give five tips for parents trying to support graduates. Whether your child has moved back home, is working in a part-time job, is unemployed, or even if they have started their first job in their career, we want to provide some easy ways for parents to help them during this challenging period.
Five tips for supporting your child when they graduate
Don’t pressure them into knowing what they want to do
Understandably, you want your child to have an idea of what career they would like; however, putting pressure on them to decide will make it harder for them to work out what career they want. In reality, people have many jobs and careers throughout their life, and the likelihood is they will have to try out a few different jobs before they find something they enjoy. Give them time and space to find this out.
Offer advice based on what you have learnt
Whether your child wants a similar career to you or not, they can learn a lot from your life and career experience. Sharing your experiences of how you got to the job you are in today can be an excellent way to help your child imagine their future and decide which steps to take first.
Put them in touch with anyone you know who could help.
Graduates must learn to stand on their own two feet and recognise the value of work. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t put them in touch with people you know who may help. Maybe you have a family friend who works in the industry your child wants to work in, and it could be beneficial for them to have a chat to learn more about the job. Or maybe you work with somebody interested in mentoring somebody at the start of their career. Once you have put them in touch, let your child reach out and arrange the contact.
Try to boost their confidence.
One of the most challenging parts of graduating and not finding work is the knock it has on your confidence. An excellent way for you to help them is by showing them what they are good at and all the things they have to offer. When someone has been rejected from a job, it can be easy for them to forget their strengths and even question their interests. It can take the people around them, believing in them and helping them see what they can do, to encourage them to keep going.
Have a chat about finances
On a more practical note, you may want to start talking to your child about finances. If they are unemployed, you must discuss how they plan to cover their basic costs such as rent and food and whether they want to apply for government benefits such as universal credit. On the other hand, if they have just got their first job, the likelihood is they will be beginning to think about things such as tax and pensions. You can help them by talking them through these things and giving any tips and advice.
If you are a graduate yourself and are looking for support, have a look at our guide to unemployment and to increasing your employability.