Sense & Sensitivity

Reader Wants Adult Son to Start Paying HIs Way

DEAR HARRIETTE: My son graduated from college a couple of years ago, and has had difficulty finding the right job fit. He did well in college and has been looking hard, but he has found only odd jobs. My wife and I have let him move back home for a while with the understanding that he needs to get his life together, but we are battling over how to manage this. I think my son should pay rent of some amount so that he begins to accept responsibility for his life. I also think he should participate in household chores. He does none of this right now. My wife is far more doting. She lets him get away with anything.

How can we draw the line? I need my son to step up and be responsible -- for his own good. -- Parenting an Adult Child, Columbus, Ohio

DEAR PARENTING AN ADULT CHILD: You and your wife need to be on the same page. Talk to her about your belief that your son should learn responsibility. Suggest that he pay a small rent. You can put it in an account that you give to him at the end of his stay. That could even help him with a deposit on his own place. Point out that doing chores and participating in household duties is a part of life. He should not get a pass. When you win over your wife, you can approach your son.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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