Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 35 years. We have two adult children who have been a wonderful part of our lives.
My daughter, 33, moved out after high school. She did not complete her college degree and moved back home. She is working a three-hour-a-day job that takes care of her bills and personal expenses.
Our 30-year-old son, "Perry," is kind and loving. He was a star athlete in high school but has since been in trouble with drugs, in jail twice, fathered a beautiful baby (the mother is in prison for another 10 months), did a year at a sober living residence (we raised the child) and now he's back home -- and messing up again. He's lazy, drinking and not attending court-assigned DUI classes. He is, however, a loving father to his 2-year-old son.
Perry has not seriously looked for a job because he says he can't drive for another year (two DUI tickets) and he "can't work construction without driving." He is hanging out with a girl who is not a positive influence. He doesn't have any money, so we can't charge him rent for living at home. He takes care of his son and sometimes helps around the house.
My husband just retired and is sick of the kids still living here. I am lucky to have my job (my sanctuary). We can't kick Perry out in the streets with no money and no job, nor do my husband and I want to start all over again raising a baby.
My husband says counseling won't help, even if we could get Perry to go, which I doubt. We have threatened but have not followed through with action. I don't understand where we have gone wrong, and I don't know what to do. -- Feeling Helpless and Depressed
Dear Helpless: You need to take back control of your lives. First, charge rent to your daughter, who will then be motivated to find a better job, and if you make it less cushy for her at home, she may even move out. Your son is a separate problem.
Contact B.I.L.Y. (BecauseILoveYou.org) at P.O. Box 2062, Winnetka, CA 91396-2062. This is an organization for parents of troubled children of any age.
"We have threatened but have not followed through with action. I don't understand where we have gone wrong..."
Well, that just about covers it. There is no consequence for the self-destructive behavior, so why would he suddenly have an epiphany and wish to change his behavior?
Charge Perry rent too. So he can't work construction, he can still work bagging groceries, and it will give him a reason to look harder for the meantime.
By charging Perry rent ; that may force him to at least do something. Rent or eviction--time to have a backbone of sorts here.