My 20-something kids don't help around the house

They're nearly grown but they don't cook or clean or wash dishes

By Cary Tennis

Published October 21, 2010 6:20PM (EDT)


I hope you can give me advice without too much pain.

I have two adolescents. Boy is 20, girl 21. I can't get either one of them to get up and do something for me in the house, such as cleaning the house, the bathrooms, or washing dishes they used. Cooking is out of the question, no help at all.

Their claim is that they did not ask to come into this world. I kind of agreed and let it go. It's true I chose to have them.

My husband doesn't care who cleans or doesn't.

I also work 9-to-5 jobs.

Please advise.


Dear M,

If your son and daughter won't help out, and your husband won't help out and doesn't care, and you are working full time, then that is really a lot for you to handle on your own. You probably can't do it all and there is no reason to believe that you should. You are doing all that you can already.

Your son and daughter are barely still adolescents. They are very close to adulthood. It is time for you to get some distance on them and let them start to take care of themselves.

I suggest you cut back on what you do for them. Start thinking about the things you can do for yourself to take care of yourself and let them take care of themselves. For instance, if you are cooking for them but they are not cleaning up or helping, then stop cooking for them. Let them get their own meals. If you are cleaning their rooms and doing their laundry, stop doing it. Let their laundry pile up. Let their rooms get dirty. Instead, find ways to pamper yourself. If there are things that you would like to do but have not done, go ahead and do them. Spend time with your friends and relatives. Get out of the house. Leave them to their own devices. If they complain, suggest that they learn how to take care of themselves. They will need to learn these things anyway when they move out.

Speaking of moving out: When are they planning to move out? Ask them about their plans to live on their own. They don't have to move out right away, but they probably don't want to live with their parents forever. And it might improve your mood to know how much longer you are going to have to put up with them. I'm not saying throw them out. I'm just saying talk to them about how long they plan to keep living with you.

You've done your part. You raised them and took care of them for 20 years. Now it's time for you to take care of yourself.

Write Your Truth.

Want more?


Cary Tennis

MORE FROM Cary TennisFOLLOW carytennisLIKE Cary Tennis

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Family Parenting Since You Asked