Dear Annie: Our 19-year-old daughter seems to have found a haven from adulthood in our home. She has resisted any effort to achieve anything outside her comfort level, and as a result, it’s not all that comfortable at home for anyone, including her.
She sleeps throughout the day and spends the night burrowed in her room for hours, pursuing who knows what. She no longer has a computer (she’s broken two laptops in fits of anger) or access to ours after 10 p.m. She won’t get a driver’s license or make a meaningful effort to find work. She won’t accept advice.
She doesn’t do drugs. She’s never out all night. I’m pretty sure she’s never so much as kissed a boy. Trying to get her up and out of the house to do anything has led to violent conflicts. The last time I had to call the cops to mediate.
Threatening to throw her out of the house is pointless. Neither my wife nor I can send her onto the street. We’ve sought counseling, but our daughter won’t go. Needless to say, we love her. People might judge that we’ve simply spoiled her, and they might be right, but we always felt we were doing the best we could without coddling her or “helicopter parenting.” Regardless, we’re stuck now and could use some help. – Stuck in Neutral
Dear Stuck: Your daughter’s lack of motivation is more than being “spoiled” or lazy. If efforts to get her up and moving become so violent that laptops are broken and the police need to be involved, please consider the possibility of mental illness. We know this is frightening, and we understand that your daughter is likely to refuse help, so please contact NAMI ( nami.org) for information and referrals.
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