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Posted in Adult Children living at home on 2021-04-19 12:41:39

DEAR ABBY: Our 21-year-old daughter has been home since March when the pandemic began. She has always been a homebody. Our house is small, and my wife and I no longer can be alone or be physically intimate because our daughter prevents it.

If we hug for an extended period of time, she will make a comment. If we want to watch a movie, she wants to hang out, and we can't watch it without her. My wife and I need privacy, and we need our adult daughter to cut the cord.

Our marriage really evolved and we grew even closer when "the kid" moved out for college. Now we can't escape her. I miss my wife and our alone time. What should we do? -- FRUSTRATED IN THE EAST

DEAR FRUSTRATED: This is your home, and your daughter needs to accommodate you, rather than the other way around. What you must do is have an adult conversation with your homebody daughter and explain that you and her mother need time alone. Establish a date night so she knows when to disappear.

I'm assuming that she has a job and friends. If that's the case, she should be accumulating enough money to live apart from you. If you are not only sheltering her but also supporting her, you will need to create a plan so your daughter can become independent. It may mean contributing to her rent for an agreed-upon period of time, if necessary, so be prepared.

Posted in Adult Children living at home on 2021-04-16 12:12:54

DEAR ABBY: My best friend (since we were babies) and I are having a disagreement. She had two kids when she was 16 and 17 who are now in their early 20s. One of them still lives rent-free under her roof.

My friend struggled her whole life but got a college degree, bought a house five years ago and owns two cars all on her own. She has recently started having friends over on the weekends and drinking. While I don't do that, I understand she had kids early and wants to have a little fun now in her 40s. She's very responsible and pays her bills.

The other day I walked in and her daughter started screaming at me that I need to tell her mom to stop and saying that she was moving out. I was shocked that she spoke to me that way.

My friend started crying because she loves her daughter and doesn't want her to move. I say, let her go. She needs to learn to respect her elders, and she'll soon realize living on her own isn't easy. My friend didn't agree and hasn't said anything to her daughter about how she spoke to both of us. I want to help my friend because she comes to me for advice, but I don't know how. -- DISAPPROVING FRIEND

DEAR FRIEND: People often say things in the heat of anger. You walked in on a fight between your friend and her daughter. You have no idea what started it, and you shouldn't have inserted yourself. When you tried to "help," your input was rejected.

You have already said enough. Now, resist the impulse to stir the pot and step back so your friend can handle this herself.

Posted in Adult Children living at home on 2021-04-14 17:09:38

DEAR ABBY: My 30-year-old son lives with me for financial reasons, and I love him dearly. He helps with bills and works a full-time job. My only problem with him is he wears the same pair of pants for weeks without washing them and hasn't washed his sheets in months. I didn't raise him that way. He does take a shower every night.

He owns only one pair of pants, and I can't get him to buy another pair. I have complained to him several times about the bad smell. How can I get him to change his ways? -- FED-UP MOTHER IN TEXAS

DEAR FED UP: At this point in his life, that may not be possible. It seems strange to me that someone who smells bad could hold a full-time job, but I will take your word for it. The easiest solution to your problem might be for you to wash his bedding every few weeks. As to the fact that he has only one pair of pants, buy him a pair for his next birthday or for Christmas -- whichever comes sooner.

Posted in Parenting and Spanking on 2021-04-14 17:06:24

DEAR ABBY: When I stopped by my brother's house a couple of weeks ago, he mentioned that his 9-year-old son was grounded in his bedroom. He was being punished for snooping in his dad's vintage collection of porn.

At first I was upset with my brother and his wife, because it was their fault that the boy had access to it, and boys are naturally curious. But when I found out what his punishment was, I became enraged. Their "brilliant" idea was to make my nephew disgusted with porn by forcing him to look at the entire collection for three hours instead of playing outside.

Maybe this tactic works for cigarette smoking or chewing tobacco, but this seemed very wrong. I was so appalled, I overstepped; I went straight into my nephew's room and told him he was allowed to go outside and play. Abby, what do you think? Am I being ridiculous? What should I have done? -- APPALLED IN OHIO

DEAR APPALLED: The child's punishment was extreme and inappropriate. What you should have done was point out to your brother and sister-in-law that their punishment may have been counterproductive. Rather than working as aversion therapy, it could result in whetting their son's appetite for more. You might also have suggested they consult a child psychologist for suggestions on how to deal with their son's budding sexual curiosity, which is entirely normal, and urged that from now on they keep their collection under lock and key.

Posted in Transgender kids vs Co-ed Locker Rooms on 2021-04-14 17:00:58

DEAR ABBY: My granddaughter just informed me she has decided she would be happier living as a boy, and she has gone so far as to legally change her name. I want to be supportive, but I admit I'm having a lot of trouble accepting it, or at least figuring out how to deal with it.

She's my only grandchild and most likely the only one I'll ever have. I loved my granddaughter with all my heart, and I don't know how to shift gears to a grandson. I keep stumbling when I try to use the new name. I would welcome any suggestions you could make, including information about support groups you might know of. -- GRANDMA IN PAIN

DEAR GRANDMA: Gender reassignment is not something that someone does on a lark. There are many steps involved, and the journey, while liberating, can be challenging both physically and emotionally. I am sure this is something your grandchild has given much thought to.

Yes, coming to terms with it can be as much of a journey for family as it is for the transgender person, and it can take time and understanding on all sides. A group called PFLAG can help you through this. It has been mentioned in my column for decades. It has helped countless families to build bridges of understanding between themselves and their lesbian, gay and transgender loved ones. Please don't wait to contact them. You will find PFLAG at pflag.org, and their phone number is (202) 467-8180.