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How can I get my parents to stop bankrolling my adult son?

My parents have been paying for 15 years to live in a luxury apartment in an expensive city where my adult brother attended college. He doesn’t work. He rarely graduated from college, lost contact with his friends, and graduated from graduate school. My parents regretted and I advised him to find a job. But he never did. Now my parents have resigned to support him indefinitely. With the decline of the pandemic, I continue to try to convince my brothers that they should apply for a job and engage with the world. But when my brother refuses, my parents bother him. So they continue to support him, give him a nice unruly car, and take him to a fancy dinner. This is crazy! What more can you do?

Brother

It will be easier to sympathize with you if you express concern about the emotional well-being of your brother or the roots of his apparent paralysis as an adult. (He may be depressed and not a glyphter.) But your question can be read like the jealous story of a middle-aged brother’s rival: Mom and Dad give him too much !!

And even if you’re right — your brother is in a bad mood and your parents allow his laziness — it doesn’t matter. Your family will not accept orders from you! You seem to have repeatedly expressed your opinion, but your parents and siblings are free to act as they choose. (To me, his problem looks more complicated than the cost of the “luxury mansion” or “luxury dinner” you’re focusing on. I hope he’s seeking professional help. I will.)

I also think your frustration may be drowning in your affectionate concerns. Still, it’s hard to understand how your continued involvement can help with the problem here. No one is asking for your help. Unravel yourself and continue your life. Your energy will be used more often to explore how the dynamics of this family affect you.

My 10 year old daughter has two best friends. The three sometimes play together, but the other two are not real friends and can only see each other through their daughter. One of the mothers of these girls said she wanted her daughter to be her best friend, just like any other girl. Well, the mother planned a play date with another girl and didn’t invite my daughter. My daughter is injured and frustrated. Are we wrong? Is there any etiquette for this?

Mom

As far as I know, there is no social equivalent of a “finder fee” that gives a daughter a mandatory invitation every time the children introduced to her gather to play. Chill, mom! It is one play day.

One of the most common ways to make new friends is through the existing friendships of your peers. And that’s a good thing! It creates a community. We encourage you to stop cracking down on your child’s social calendar and focus on making different friends. No one is invited to all.

Like many Americans, my neighbor next to me hired a cute puppy during the pandemic. She and the dog stayed together all day while we were blocked. Now that she’s back at work, the puppy is standing alone for hours at a stretch, crying, barking, and whining. It’s miserable to be next to you! How do I need to handle this with my neighbors?

JIL

Unless the puppy has a delayed reaction to being left alone (and doesn’t start crying until your neighbor is deaf), she’s probably aware of this problem to some extent. Gently inform her that the pain of her dog will continue during her absence.

I should say it. “I’m sorry to tell you that your puppy will bark and whine all the time you’re away. It’s hard to hear! Have you started working on this yet?” Unfortunately for you and your puppy, separation anxiety Improving is a process — your neighbors need to manage themselves or with the help of a good trainer (our dogs are now accustomed to dating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

My brother-in-law sent us two free copies of his memoirs. Our family tree is included in it. My husband (the author’s brother), one of our grandchildren, and I all misspelled our name in the book. When I pointed this out, he blamed his now dead cousin for a mistake. I feel bad! Are you sure you want to return these unsolicited books?

Harriet

Just curious: Have you ever congratulated your brother-in-law for publishing his memoirs, thanked you for sending us two copies, or misspelled your name? Often, the period we raise an issue is the kind of responsive barometer we receive.

I’m sorry I feel sick. It was thoughtful for the author to apologize no matter who provided the information or proofread the manuscript. (Does anyone really need a proofreader to spell his brother’s name correctly?) Still, returning the book seems too dramatic. It’s probably not worth the big escalation that your brother-in-law didn’t apologize for the little mistake.


For troublesome situations, SocialQ @ nytimes.com, Facebook Philip Galanes, or @SocialQPhilip On Twitter.



How can I get my parents to stop bankrolling my adult son?

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