Dear Annie: My 26-year-old son graduated from college three years ago. He worked for his father for one year, worked on a marijuana farm for one year and has been living off of his savings for the past eight months. He hasn’t been looking for a job. He says he doesn’t want to work for someone else.
Now he says he wants to move back to our town and live half of the year with me and half with my ex-husband, who lives two hours away. He refuses to pay rent. Annie, I don’t want him living here, freeloading. The problem is, I know he’ll come here anyway and stay several nights without officially moving in, because I live near his friends.
How do I handle this without having it get really ugly? He’s not the easiest person to deal with.
— Reluctant Mom
Dear Reluctant: It isn’t going to get better if you do nothing and find your son on your doorstep. You need to talk to him now, as calmly as possible, and let him know you love him, but you aren’t willing to subsidize his current lifestyle. If you choose, you could tell him that he can stay if he gets a job and pays a reasonable rent, or any variation that you prefer if you think he will honor it. Offer to help him look for employment and/or an apartment of his own. Try to get your ex-husband on board so you both are helping your son get on a path toward responsibility. But you have to be willing to risk your son’s anger if you expect this to work.
Dear Annie: I’m a high school student in a small town, and I’m really scared for my health. My maternal grandmother died of breast cancer, and she left behind three daughters, two of whom have daughters of their own. There’s a high chance that my mother, aunts, cousin or I could have breast cancer, as well.
I’m scared to the bone of this disease, and I’m always nervous that my self-exams aren’t terribly accurate. I’ve talked to my mom about getting a professional exam or even a mammogram (though, to be honest, I’d be so much more comfortable with a mastectomy altogether), but I always feel like she avoids the subject. Is there any way I can get an exam without my mother knowing? If not, how can I convince her to get one with me?
— Worried in Wyoming
Dear Worried: While having a close relative who has had breast cancer is a risk factor over one’s lifetime, it doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone else in your family will get it. A small percentage of the population carries the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, and if Grandma had this, your mother should speak to her doctor about genetic testing. Otherwise, your risk is no greater than any other girl your age.
But we do agree that an exam might put your mind at ease. Ask your mother to make an appointment for you with a gynecologist. If she refuses, you can talk to your pediatrician about this at your next appointment, or contact Planned Parenthood (plannedparenthood.org) for information.
Dear Annie: Please tell “End of the Line” not to despair. There are free or low-cost computer courses offered at places like Goodwill Industries (goodwill.org), which also offers help with resume writing, along with free job placement services. In Florida, we have Workforce Plus, which offers assistance, and I’m sure other states have similar services.
As a former hiring manager, I often hired people in their 70s. Older workers have excellent work ethics and less absenteeism than younger workers. Plus, their years of business experience proved invaluable. At the age of 51, I decided to return to college and earn a B.A. in accounting, and I continue to take classes. You are never too old to learn. Please tell her not to give up.
— There Is Hope
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