There are some 80 million Millennials in the United States – people born from 1981 into the early 90s. They are a controversial generation, who has also been referred to as Generation Y (in a cry back to Generation X, which reached adulthood in the early ‘90s). Another, less optimistic take on them is that they are the new ‘Lost Generation’, owing to the high levels of unemployment they are facing. That label actually belongs to The Wall Street Journal, who noted that there are 15.6 per cent unemployed people under 25 in America nowadays, while the rate of unemployment for Americans over 25 stands at 2.5 times lower. The issue of unemployment is difficult both for the young people in question, as well as for the parents of unemployed millennials. This is why today’s post offers five tips on how to deal with your 20-30 year-old child’s unemployment.
#1 Leave them be
Yes, parents of unemployed millennials, you heard us right. Counterintuitive as it may sound, one of the best ways to help your jobless sons and daughters is to leave them be. That obviously doesn’t mean ignoring them, but it does mean giving them some room to breathe, not pressuring them, and allowing them to come to you with news on the job search. You may mean well, but by constantly asking them if they’ve managed to find a job already you would only be increasing the levels of stress they are seeing.
#2 Don’t push a PhD on them
One so called solution that some parents of unemployed millennials have resorted to is to push them toward getting an MA, Masters of Business degree, or a PhD. In their view, this would keep the child ‘busy’ until the economy eases up. Newsflash: if and when that does happen, a person with a post-graduate education is going to be entering the job market with a handicap, compared to his/her peers who may have already accumulated some work experience. If your child actually does want to pursue a form of higher learning, by all means, be supportive. Otherwise, you might find you’ve invested in their higher education only to see them drop out, once you ease up on the pressure.
#3 Always ask them if they need help
Again, this is one tip that might sound odd. Of course they need help, they’re jobless, right? Wrong. By pushing your business connections, your goals for them, and your unsolicited help, you would only be undermining them – albeit, once more, with the best of intentions at heart. As is the case with the age gap between older and younger workers, it’s best to never assume you know what your counterpart wants. So go ahead and ask. If you find they do need you to help build contacts in a career track, go right ahead. If not, learn to trust their decisions and be supportive, as they go it alone. It’s a jungle out there, and by second-guessing them you would only be making matters worse.
# Allow them their independence
This might be very difficult to put into practice, especially for the parents of unemployed millennials whose children have decided to move back home, in order to cut costs. You will get all worked up and enthusiastic to see your baby return to the nest – while they are undergoing one of the most difficult (and potentially humiliating) times of their lives. So, if they do move back home, let them lead the independent kind of lifestyle that they have developed while living away from you. By respecting privacy boundaries, you will be signaling that you do understand they are adults now, and could do without nagging, badgering, or constant supervision.
#5 Encourage productivity
If all of the advice above seems rather more geared toward a passive attitude, worry not, pro-active parents of unemployed millennials! There is something you can actively do, to help your children. Encourage them do something – anything at all – that they genuinely enjoy. It could be pursuing a creative project, a rediscovered childhood hobby, or even something as simple as joining the local gym. You can always take part in said activity with them, enjoy quality time, and also make sure they are not idling about, falling into the throes of depression.