Family Tree Mediation





Returning Graduate

When Recent Graduates Return to Live at Home


Amid hard economic times, the skyrocketing burdens of college loans, and an inaccessible housing market, there is a growing trend increasingly reported in the news of adult children moving back in with their parents following graduation from college. No doubt for many parents and many young adult children, this new living dynamic is stressful and even painful.

We have all grown up with an expectation of increasing prosperity from generation to generation and for many moving out on one’s own is an important symbol signifying that that expectation of prosperity is on its way to being fulfilled. The symbolic disappointment of that expectation inspires all kinds of different emotional responses from both parents and young adult children.

In addition to the emotions that attend a graduate’s moving back in with his or her parents are a host of practical issues relating to any household. How do the housing costs get covered? How does the home get cleaned? What impact do visitors have on the other members of the household? How do people communicate about important household needs? How much privacy do household members get? The list of such questions that may come up is a long one.

Often attending the practical aspects of these questions is a diverse range of value judgments, personal experiences, relationship histories, and awkwardness before uncharted territory that together result in very different perceptions on any given issue.

With all of these factors at play at once, it’s understandable if the peace and contentment of home has been shaken.


Tired of arguing, being frustrated or walking on egg shells, one or more of you may be feeling a strong desire to find a better way to support and respect each other as a family. This is especially true, if your adult child appears to you to need support finding his or her way into a career and financial independence. The adult child may also have a strong desire to find a way to gain your confidence and support for the vision he or she is trying to develop of his or her future.

In offering communication facilitation and education coaching services to families with young graduates in the midst of their transition to independence, Family Tree Mediation seeks to help young adults and the families who support them gain confidence, tools and a plan that empowers the young adult, strengthens the family, and enriches the experience together at home.

Family Tree Mediation’s Transition to Independence Communication/Education Coaching service works in the following way:

First, the mediator engages parents and their young graduate in a facilitated dialogue that invites each of the members of the family to develop and share with the others his or her own map of the pursuit of happiness. Then, through a series of exercises used to help each family member to work on his or her map of the pursuit of happiness, the mediator builds a conversation about effective communication that in itself models effective communication skills and engages the family in practicing them. The mediator then uses this experience to explore with the family the many contributions constructive communication patterns make in empowering an individual’s pursuit of happiness. The family is then invited to discuss, with the assistance of the mediator, each member’s most important hopes, fears, needs and concerns. In this way, the family is able to gain comfort and confidence talking to each other about the new issues that lie ahead amid the changing parent-child relationship as the young adult transitions to independence. Finally, the mediator/coach is available to help the recent graduate and his or her family explore strategies for meeting the needs of all members of the household, but with a particular focus on the recent graduate’s career goals.

The result of this process is that each member of the family gains a more fully developed awareness of the many factors affecting his or her and each other’s pursuit of happiness, a more conscious plan for pursuing happiness in a multi-dimensional, balanced and integrated way, and an increased appreciation for the value of the many relationships in his or her life that contribute to his or her happiness. By sharing this exploration as a family, the parents communicate their respect for the adult autonomy of their children and the equality of each member’s perspective. This respect in turn inspires a mutual respect for the parents’ pursuit of happiness, which in some cases, the children may not have thought much about in the past. Most importantly, each family member now has a common language and experience to draw from in nurturing constructive, active communication patterns that can establish from the outset a harmonious and mutually appreciative parent/adult-child relationship.

If you have questions you would like to ask about Family Tree Mediation’s Transition to Independence Communication/Education Coaching services or if you would like to schedule an appointment, you can call me at (650) 762-TREE [762-8733] or email me using the email form on our Contact Us page.  Also, please call or email if you have any questions you would like to discuss.



Hank Edson Family Tree Mediation 72dpiHank Edson, J.D.          CALL: (650) 762-8733

Proprietor of Family Tree Mediation
Serving Redwood City, Atherton,
Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Mountain View,
Los Altos and the wider Peninsula &
San Francisco Bay Area. 

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