Thursday, March 14, 2013

Unemployed Adult Son Needs To Pick Up His Efforts

Dear Tazi:

My adult son is living at home after being laid-off from his job and being unable to find work. I don't mind having "Jerry" here; he is my son, after all. I do mind the fact that he is a slob who has been treating my home like a hotel and me like his maid. I work hard all day and do not want to have to come home to a dirty house! Jerry has been here for three months now, and has not lifted a finger to help around the house or clean up after himself. Worse, he creates messes in the common areas and leaves them for me to find. I did not raise him to be this way!

When I first noticed Jerry's poor house habits, I ignored them, figuring he was preoccupied with his job search. That was a big mistake, because they only got worse from there! I thought he might be suffering from depression or some other mental illness, but all of his screenings came back negative  I have told Jerry that if he cannot clean up after himself he can find another place to live, but had no answer when he asked me "Where am I supposed to go?". I don't have the heart to send him to the homeless shelter, Tazi.

Do you have any suggestions on how to get my son to start pulling his own weight? He's 32 years old, so he is not a child, which is why I feel awkward yelling at him like he is one. I raised him to be neat and tidy, hoping I was doing his future wife a favor, but there is no news on that front, either. Where did I go wrong?

Buried In My Own Home

Dear Buried In My Own Home:

You did not go wrong, so please do not blame yourself for Jerry's slovenly habits. You raised your son to be "neat and tidy" and presumably respectful of women. He is the one who has chosen to ignore those guidelines and go his own way. As I see it, there are two ways to deal with your problem: continue to clean up after Jerry or leave his messes for him to clean up himself. The latter may be the better way, in this case.

When Jerry leaves a mess in the common areas of the house, pick it up and place it on his bed. Now, it is his problem to deal with and he will either have to put it away or have it fall on the floor when he gets into bed at night. Do this for clothing, shoes, (clean) food wrappers, and other items he sees fit to leave laying around. Refuse to change his sheets or do his laundry for him - these are things he is quite capable of doing for himself, but will not as long as you do it for him.

Dirty dishes should be deposited in the sink, but there is nobody telling you that you have to wash them for Jerry. Eventually, he will run out of clean dishes and have to wash them himself. If Jerry complains, hand him a sponge and some soap and tell him to have at it! If Jerry complains, tell him that until he is working full-time he will be working around the house. Spring is coming and the lawn will need to be cleaned up and then mowed on a regular basis. There are probably other things that will need to be completed, as well. The economy is picking up and employers are now hiring at a good clip! If Jerry is still having trouble finding a job the trouble could be in that he is not looking hard enough. Working him around the house may be just the motivation he needs to step-up his job search.

In the end, if none of this works I suggest that  you change the locks and, weather permitting, lock Jerry outside until you come home at the end of the day. Your house will remain clean while still giving Jerry a private place to sleep at night.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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