DEAR ABBY: My 23-year-old daughter, "Kimberly," is driving me nuts. She's a college grad, a teacher and cheerleading coach, and she still lives at home. She says she can't afford to move out due to lack of money, yet she shops constantly -- and I don't mean shopping at discount stores. Kimberly has to have the finest car, clothing, etc. Her credit cards are maxed out. She also has a black lab mix that is destroying my back yard. She spends no time with him.
Abby, I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Kimberly won't communicate with me, so what do I do? I remarried a year ago to a fantastic man, but he doesn't want to come between me and my daughter. Any advice would be most welcome. I'm so tired of being my daughter's maid and doormat. -- TRAPPED IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR TRAPPED: You created this monster, and you are going to have to be the one to deal with her. Kimberly is behaving like an overgrown teenager. Unless you want to continue being maid and doormat, you must establish rules for her as long as she's under your roof.
Some suggestions: Your daughter must start a savings account and deposit a certain percentage of her earnings in it to pay for first and last month's rent on a place of her own. She must, on a monthly basis, begin paying off her credit cards. If necessary, Kimberly will also get credit counseling to help her do that. She'll take care of her dog -- training it, exercising it and cleaning up after it -- or you will find the dog a more responsible owner.
You are not Kimberly's friend. You are her mother, so start acting like one. Unless you do, you will continue to be a servant in your own home. Your husband can support you, but he cannot do this for you, and neither can I. By allowing the status quo to continue, you are crippling your child.