Annie's Mailbox: Tough Love Grandma
Dear Annie: Last summer, my 19-year-old college student granddaughter asked to rent my basement bedroom, with its own bathroom and access to my laundry room. I agreed and asked for a minimum rent to cover utilities. She attends school on a scholarship and works two full-time jobs, and I postponed payment of rent until her next student loan came through.
The problem was, her unemployed, single-parent boyfriend with no car or driver's license was here all the time. I offered suggestions of nearby job opportunities and the chance to work off his "rent" by helping out around the yard. But he always had an excuse as to why the jobs wouldn't work out and never seemed physically up to doing any yard work.
I did my best to make this situation work. However, they were having parties when I was away and trashing my home. After the second time we had words, they left, leaving most of her stuff here. She then decided to move in with her parents, although she was actually living with her boyfriend and his parents.
My son and daughter-in-law have not said or done anything about this situation. I think they are enabling their daughter. She came back once for clothing and then informed me that I could go in with the rest of her family for her Christmas present to furnish an apartment for her and said boyfriend. That was the last straw. I gave her a Christmas card with a note saying her gift is that she does not owe me the two months' rent and four months' storage of what is still in that bedroom.
My granddaughter and her mother are both upset with me. I feel she was deceitful, rude and disrespectful of my home and me. I am not handing out any more favors until she grows up. Am I wrong? -- Tough Love Grandma
Dear Tough: Not at all, but you cannot expect your freeloading granddaughter and her enabling mother to agree with you. You do not owe anyone a furnished apartment. Do whatever you think best and ignore the rest. We're on your side.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from Run Out of Ideas, whose high-school graduate nephew plays video games in his parents' house all day and seems to have no interest in growing up and being responsible. This nephew has lots of company.
Please address the "boy crisis" in this country. Thousands of young men in their late teens and 20s are just like the nephew: "perfectly content not to go anywhere in life." Your advice wasn't wrong, but it ignored the fact that his nephew represents a social trend and a problem. Maybe you should explore what's wrong with our society that so many young men are so disinterested in being productive and pursuing success. -- Waco, Texas
Dear Waco: There are plenty of young men who are productive, successful and responsible members of society. For the others, there are undoubtedly myriad reasons: difficulty in finding employment, poor wages and high turnover, substance abuse, mental illness, laziness and overly indulgent parents who issue no consequences for loitering. Studies show that job-hopping is no more excessive for this generation than previous ones. Parents have to insist that their kids be educated, find work and pay rent, or get counseling to achieve those goals. But decent employment has to be available, or recent graduates will float from job to job feeling undervalued, being underpaid and getting nowhere.
Here's a suggestion from one of our readers:
Dear Annie: Run Out of Ideas should have a local military recruiter visit his nephew "Peter." There is no better organization in the world to turn kids into adults. -- John Q. Public
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.