Ask Amy: Parents hesitate being awkward with sons
Dear Amy: We have three sons. They are grown, successful, and professional, with equally successful wives.
They come to stay with us, use our cars to see their friends, eat what we prepare, and never offer to reciprocate.
Should we say something?
I think they should offer to take their father and me out for a meal or otherwise reciprocate, but this feels like it would be an awkward conversation!
– Susan in Oregon
Dear Susan: You are the parents of these adults. You’ve given and given and continue to give.
Yes, this might be awkward, but please don’t run from awkward. Many powerful insights have been delivered by people brave enough to initiate an awkward conversation.
Because your sons don’t seem to have quite completed their childhoods, I suggest that you take this next step as a vital parenting lesson you have yet to impart.
Here’s the message: “Guys, it’s time to step up. Now that you’re all adults, we really do expect you to reciprocate when we host you. We are happy to have you come home, but it's time for you to take some of the burden off of us and assume it for yourselves. We would appreciate it if you’d at the very least treat us to a lunch or dinner out while you’re home. It would also be great if you offered to lend a hand while you’re visiting. There might be little house or yard chores you could help with, and we would be grateful if you offered.”