Dear Sue Ellen,
My kids drive me crazy. They don’t mind me, they are messy, disrespectful and don’t work. (They are 18 and 20 years old). They tease and call me an angry old bird and maybe it’s true, but I am ready for them to fly away. I love my kids but I wish you would give me some pointers on how to get rid of them.
Growing up takes a lifetime, but let’s consider ways of motivating them to get jobs and move out: disconnect the cable or satellite in your home so there will be no more video games, or movies or sports on TV. Make “will work for food” signs for your kids and drop them off by a busy highway, (with signs in hand). Drive them to an army recruiter’s office and let them find their own way home. Take their cell phones. Buy them a one-way bus ticket to somewhere else. Give them an eviction notice. Put a lock on the refrigerator with a sign that says “you will get fed when you work”. Another option would be for you to move somewhere else and start over without them. I guess we have daydreamed enough.
More and more families are having to move in together due to financial challenges. It is stressful, but jobs are sometimes hard to find. I understand that a large number of kids are having to move back in with their parents after they have graduated from college because they can’t find jobs. Have you considered talking to your kids about going to a technical school? They could become a barber, beautician, draftsman, plumber, carpenter or mechanic. Although they are grown, they may still not know what they want to do for a career. It would benefit everybody if you could help them figure out their next step in life. If you have difficulties communicating with them, perhaps somebody else could step in. You might also want to consider sending them to counseling to help with their future plans, or lack thereof.
Over the years, I have come to the realization that no family is perfect. We all have challenges and dynamics that create drama sometimes, and we all have conflicts or disagreements with each other on occasion. We all have crazy aunts, or weird cousins, but wouldn’t you step in if they needed your help?
Rates of unemployment and homelessness are reported to be up in our country. Some families pull together and support each other during hard times. I don’t know the entire situation you are dealing with, but if you weren’t there for your kids, where would they be? On the streets? You may be annoyed and angry with them, but this season will pass. Find a way to get your kids the help they need to be successful and independent; and they will take the big step to leave your nest so you don’t have to be their “angry old bird” anymore.
– Sue Ellen