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Annie’s Mailbox: Help daughter live independently

Tue., Oct. 19, 2010

Dear Annie: My relationship with my 22-year-old daughter, “Lana,” has become impossible. She is a total slob. She lived here over the summer and did exactly one load of laundry. It was not uncommon to come home and find dishes in the sink because she “didn’t have time” to empty the dishwasher. Her clothes and shoes were everywhere. My husband paid rent on her college apartment so she could keep it while she worked here for the summer, and she decided to use her own money to take a weeklong vacation.

I think I am enabling Lana to continue her selfish, childlike behavior. My husband simply says, “That’s how she is,” as if I’m supposed to roll over and accept it. Here’s the problem: Lana is in her final year of college and next summer will be returning for a semester of student teaching. I do not want her living here. She has no respect for our home or us.

We want Lana to be a responsible, considerate adult. I have spoken with her countless times about our expectations, and she continues to defy us. I know she has a good heart, but the anger and resentment are eating me up inside. My husband gives in every time, and I don’t think he is doing her any favors.

I wouldn’t mind helping Lana financially if she showed some appreciation and made an effort to grow up. I can’t continue like this. What do I do? – Loving and Missing All at the Same Time

Dear Loving Mom: We agree that you are enabling your daughter to behave like a spoiled brat because there are no consequences to her inconsiderate behavior. Lana should know that if she lives at home, she must contribute to the housekeeping and pay a reasonable amount of rent. If she doesn’t agree, she can live elsewhere. And your husband needs to support your efforts to help Lana become independent.

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