If you insist upon having a young one at the table, give finger food, then ignore as much as possible. Carry on conversation “over her head.” But always stand, or sit, ready to remove them and put them where the only person they disrupt is themselves.
Q: My husband and I have a 21-year-old daughter from his first marriage. She was suspended from college for bad grades and is waiting out her time until she can go back. Meanwhile, she works for my husband to earn a little spending money, but rent and food are free.
The problem is that her work performance is consistently poor and she is consistently disrespectful. She won’t listen to instructions and takes forever to do anything. Meanwhile, her dad is going slowly insane. She’s disrespectful at home as well. I think he should fire her; then we should kick her out of the house and let her fend for herself. What do you think?
A: Whenever someone asks me if I intend to ever write a book on how to deal with irresponsible, disrespectful young adult children, I answer, “Well, no publisher will accept a book that consists of only two words: Stop enabling!” As long as this child (her chronological age may be 21, but I estimate her emotional age at 14) can do as she pleases and still enjoy all the comforts of home, she will continue to do as she pleases.
Yes, give her her walking papers, and the sooner the better for all concerned. That is, believe me, the only solution. To grow up, this child needs to experience the slings and arrows of the real world and learn to deal with them without protections. That applies to a lot of young adults these days, by the way.
Family psychologist John Rosemond answers parents’ questions on his website at www.rosemond.com.