Posted: Monday, October 3, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My 26-year-old son graduated two years ago from a terrific university. During college, he lived on his own and had a girlfriend, but just before graduation, they broke up. My son had a hard time coping, and when he graduated, he came back to live at home.
In those two years, he hasn’t applied for any jobs. When I arranged a few interviews for him, he didn’t do well. I believe he suffers from severe anxiety and gets nervous when meeting people, especially older men who tend to be the ones interviewing him.
I have begged him to get counseling, but he insists there is nothing wrong. He stays in his room all day and only comes out for dinner. His friends have moved on with their lives, and he barely speaks to any of them.
I have talked to him and even threatened to kick him out, but I can’t follow through. Where would he go? Please help me find a way to get him to face the world. — Worried Mom
Dear Worried: Your son seems depressed and lethargic. Tell him counseling is a condition for remaining in the house. You will have to do a little enabling to start. Ask your physician for a counseling referral, call to explain the problem and make an appointment, and then be sure your son keeps it, even if that means driving him there and escorting him inside. Beyond that, however, he must take responsibility for his own recovery, which may include medication. Also look into help for yourself. You may need to follow through on your threat to toss him out, and you might need some support to do it.
Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for slightly more than a year. How do I handle the constant stream of questions from family and friends wondering when we’re going to have a baby?
I have had two miscarriages and simply don’t know how to respond. Do I tell them the truth, which is very painful? How can I get them to stop asking every time they see me? I know they mean well, but this seems like a rather personal question. Just because a couple has no children doesn’t mean they aren’t trying. — New Bride in the Midwest
Dear Bride: We are continually amazed that nosy people think someone else’s fertility is their business. You are not obligated to respond to these questions. You can politely ask, “Why do you need to know?” But a reader once wrote that she used to be that kind of nosy person until a friend replied that she was trying desperately to get pregnant and it was too painful to discuss. That was the response that finally made her stop asking.
Dear Annie: This is for “Hurting for My Daughter,” who was being verbally bullied at school.
I, too, am a rural town mom. I have watched both of my daughters endure the harassing phone calls, text messages and snide remarks, simply because they didn’t fit into the “in” crowd. I spent many late nights wiping tears, some of them my own.
I always told my daughters that someday these Barbie dolls would no longer be the top dogs. I also told them that high school is only a small passage through the journey of life, and that after they graduated, they would look back in amazement at the drama that encompassed them.
I am happy to say that high school is behind us now, and my girls are well-adjusted, respectful adults who would never treat anyone this way. Tell “Hurting” to give her daughter love, encouragement, the belief that this is just a bump in the long journey of life and the wisdom to take the high road. — A Former Hurting Small-Town Mom
Dear Former: When you’re living it, high school torments seem as if they will last forever. But those who can get through the experience will be stronger for it.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 10.03.11