DEAR HARRIETTE: I cannot make my son be independent. He is 29 years old and has made his father and me pay for his college education, only to drop out months before he gets a degree. Our son was a month away from receiving his engineering degree, only to switch over to design and begin again. Three months before his graduation from that school, he decides to switch over to construction management. I want him to get a degree in something he truly loves, but I am sick of his reluctance to be independent. University is not cheap, and I want him to go on, get a job and flourish as an adult. How can I make my son mature and do something with his life without pushing him away? -- Getting Him to Grow Up, San Diego
DEAR GETTING HIM TO GROW UP: Perhaps your toughest job is before you. In order to help your son become independent, you have to cut the proverbial cord. If he hasn't figured out how to complete his education yet, your willingness to keep paying for him to figure it out is doing him no favors.
Cut off all financial support. If your son lives with you, explain that he needs to find a job and start contributing to the household expenses immediately. Tell him that if he wants to continue his education, he has to find the money on his own. Your son is almost 30. It's past time for him to step up. As long as you continue to catch him whenever he falters, he may never fully understand his responsibility.