I sent the link to Chris for his take and to help gauge my own reaction:
me: Don't read this unless you have a few minutes, but speaking as a parent, I'm glad you're "irresponsible"
Chris: only took a minute to read
the points they make are kind of valid, but you could make the same argument for staying in the same city you went to school at
me: or living at home while in college, and THEN moving out
but you need to have experience living on your own
me: and once you have it, why move back home if you don't really have to?
and where's "home" if your parents live in different places?
Chris: there is a financial benefit
but that's about it
me: I can see that, but yeah. that's about it...especially if you've had that taste of being on your own already
me: it's hard on EVERYONE to go back
Chris: yeah, I knowin a vacuum it doesn't look bad
I guess it's hard to argue the benefits for a recent graduate, especially if everything reverts to pre-college status and parents are picking up the tab for everything. And if the grad takes advantage of that - in the "good" way - by working hard and saving up that money during this time period, he or she will be much better-positioned financially for a more desirable lifestyle when the time to move out finally arrives.
I actually think being able to go away to college, living on or near campus, is a great opportunity. It's a taste of independence - being responsible for your own time management, for one thing, along with making lots of other choices - but it's also still sheltered, since most college kids aren't quite as "on their own" as they like to think they are. Directly and indirectly, most are still getting a substantial amount of support from parents during this time. But having had that taste of independence can mean giving it up when returning to the family home - and as a parent, I think to some extent that's entirely appropriate. Unless the recent grad is paying rent and other housing expenses to the parent, and doing his or her own laundry, errands, cleaning, etc. - that is, approximating living on one's own as closely as possible under the circumstances - I'm inclined to think "my house, my rules" applies, especially if there's also some amount of "my support" involved. And I'd suggest that rather than going away and coming back, one might ultimately arrive at the same place by attending a local university and living at home, preparing for a transition to independence after graduation. (I did this, and believe me, everyone was ready to move on after five years of it.)
For generations, it's been traditional for young adults to have to work their way up in the world; it's a formative experience, intellectually, emotionally, and materially. Maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I see a lot of value to this. Depending on where you live and what you do, though, it can be harder to get on that footing and take longer to move forward - and I think that going back to the family home signals a reluctance to take on those challenges, as well as a sense of entitlement to a particular lifestyle that these young adults grew up with and don't want to sacrifice.
I gather a lot of parents don't want them to have to sacrifice it, either. My take on the job of parenthood is that the goal is raising functional adults, and thereby ultimately working yourself out of a job - but I know that not all parents agree, and some have a hard time letting go appropriately. I'm not talking about kicking the baby birds out of the nest, mind you, and I don't think any parent wants to become truly unnecessary to his or her child, but I think we do more for them by helping them prepare to fly. (Teaching someone to fish vs. giving them a fish, you know...) I'm not sure letting them back into the nest really does help. I tend to think that moving back home after college has a lot more advantages for the child than the parents - but if the parents aren't ready to let go, I guess they get some benefit too. If the parent is encouraging the child to return home, I wonder if that speaks more to the parent's needs that what's best for the young-adult child in the long run.
As I say, I'm probably a traditionalist, and my viewpoint is in line with my own experiences. I think those experiences were a good basis on which to raise my own child, though, and am glad to see him following that more traditional route; I hope that his upbringing has prepared him to make a good go of it. And considering that he was pretty anxious to get started on his own and not head back to stay with either of his parents after graduation, I guess he might be a bit of a traditionalist himself.
UPDATE 9/6 to add a link to this - related to what is and isn't part of the "parenting" job description, here are Bub and Pie's "Family Values." I am very much in agreement with them.