Dear Annie: Our 19-year-old daughter seems to have found a haven from adulthood in our home. She has resisted any effort to achieve anything outside her comfort level, and as a result, it’s not all that comfortable at home for anyone, including her.
She sleeps throughout the day and spends the night burrowed in her room for hours, pursuing who knows what. She no longer has a computer (she’s broken two laptops in fits of anger) or access to ours after 10 p.m. She won’t get a driver’s license or make a meaningful effort to find work. She won’t accept advice.
She doesn’t do drugs. She’s never out all night. I’m pretty sure she’s never so much as kissed a boy. Trying to get her up and out of the house to do anything has led to violent conflicts. The last time I had to call the cops to mediate.
Threatening to throw her out of the house is pointless. Neither my wife nor I can send her onto the street. We’ve sought counseling, but our daughter won’t go. Needless to say, we love her. People might judge that we’ve simply spoiled her, and they might be right, but we always felt we were doing the best we could without coddling her or “helicopter parenting.” Regardless, we’re stuck now and could use some help.
— Stuck in Neutral
Dear Stuck: Your daughter’s lack of motivation is more than being “spoiled” or lazy. If efforts to get her up and moving become so violent that laptops are broken and the police need to be involved, please consider the possibility of mental illness. We know this is frightening, and we understand that your daughter is likely to refuse help, so please contact NAMI (nami.org) for information and referrals.
Dear Annie: I am a retired, single senior citizen. Five years ago, I bought a lovely home in an area where I have no family or friends. I may have made a mistake. Since then, I have made no friends, only acquaintances. I’ve been to church and other gathering places, to no avail. Also, there are few activities here for people my age. I’ve given it my best shot, and I don’t see any improvements on the social scene. It is very lonely.
I have family members who want me to move near them. I know I could be of assistance to one of my siblings who is in poor health. However, I am apprehensive about moving, because another sibling who lives there is very difficult to get along with and has caused trouble for me in the past. What is your advice?
— Not Getting Any Younger
Dear Not Getting: The best solution would be for you to move back and find a better way to relate to the sibling who gives you grief. Would your sibling consider some short-term counseling sessions with you? Would your other siblings help mediate? Before you decide, visit a few times to see whether this can be resolved.
The next best thing, of course, would be to find friends in your current area. We know you’ve tried. Invite one or two people for coffee. Volunteer somewhere or join a social organization that speaks to your interests. It doesn’t have to be limited to “senior” groups. Friends come in all ages.
Dear Annie: Please suggest to “Don’t Know What To Do in Connecticut” to wear gloves if she doesn’t want to catch other people’s respiratory viruses. Then, if someone looks like they are going to hug you, stick out your hand to shake. I wear gloves everywhere to avoid germs.
— Not Sick
Dear Not: Dress gloves can also add a touch of class to every occasion.
Dear Readers: Today is Family Day (casafamilyday.org). Studies show that children who eat dinner with their parents have a reduced risk of substance abuse. Please try to make meals a family event.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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