Q: I’m the mother of two teenagers, ages 13 and 15. I am trying to teach them to do chores and help around the house, but all I get is attitude from them.
I try to explain that I didn’t grow up with a dishwasher and I washed all the dishes by hand. Well, now that we have a dishwasher, they don’t want to load or unload it either! I try not to spoil my kids, but I guess it’s too late. Sometimes I get so frustrated that I just do the chores myself.
What am I doing wrong as a parent? My kids are either on their iPhone or iPad or Xbox. They have a better childhood than I ever had, but they don’t understand. It’s hurtful when their response is “Let me live,” or “You don’t understand anything,” or “I can’t wait to get out of the house and get away from you!” This is very hurtful, and I guess I just needed to vent to someone other than my husband. Thanks for letting me. — Stressed-Out Mom
A: You’re welcome. Now, may I offer a suggestion? You should not be doing your teenagers’ chores for them. Instead, start instituting consequences if they shirk their responsibilities. An effective consequence would be to confiscate their iPhone, iPad or Xbox if the chores aren’t done when they’re supposed to be. And if they talk disrespectfully to you, ditto!
Q: My son’s fiancee set their wedding date without asking me if I could make it. I recently took a job on the West Coast. As a campground manager and new employee, I can’t get time off Labor Day weekend to fly back to the East Coast for the wedding. (Labor Day is one of the big summer holidays for campgrounds.)
His fiancee has done other hurtful things in the past, and I can’t help but doubt it was an oversight that I wasn’t consulted before their wedding date was set. When I tried to talk to my son about it, I received the anticipated hostility I usually get from him.
My question to you is, should I pay for their caterer? I have given this son so much money over the years that I can’t help but believe he’s a user. Advice, please. — Excluded Out West
A: If your son had wanted you to be at his wedding, you would have been consulted before the date was set. His fiancee didn’t consult you because that is probably the way your son wanted it. Under the circumstances, you should not pay for any of the wedding expenses. If you feel you must do something, send them a congratulatory card wishing them “a lifetime of happiness together.” Period.
Q: If I am standing in line waiting for a friend to arrive at a store that’s about to open for a sale, when my friend arrives, is it OK for her to join me where I’ve been holding the spot, or should we move to the back of the line so customers behind us don’t feel like she is butting in? — No Butts About It
A: Lines for sales can be long, and people sometimes wait many hours to get into the stores. According to Emily Post, “Courteous people never break into line.” It might be diplomatic to ask the person standing in back of you if he or she minds if your friend joins you. Some might object; others not.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.