What can I do when my child doesn’t contribute or help in the house?

Nov 8, 2021

 

QUESTION

Dearest Robina,

 

I am struggling with a situation.

 

Our children don’t contribute or help in the house. This really upsets my husband, to the point where he refuses to do anything additional to help our oldest in particular. This is really difficult for me because I want to help anyone when I can, and am trying to do so even if they don’t do what I want.

 

The other day I gave her money to get the bus to school. Yes, she could have figured out when she needed to apply for the bursary so she had money in time, or she could also have gotten a part time job so she has money. But in that moment if I hadn’t given her the money she wouldn’t have been able to get to college. 

 

My husband was angry, because he doesn’t think I should help her at all. We spoke about it and he didn’t agree that I should’ve helped, he says she needs to learn and if she messes up her qualifications and can’t get a good job, then she’ll have to deal with it. I think that is too harsh a consequence.

 

She is 17, goes to college a couple of days a week and spends the rest of her time sleeping, gaming, or hanging out with her friends.

 

As a result of various previous situations/incidents, my husband has wanted many times to throw her out the house, but I have managed to talk him out of it.

 

We are now at the point where she has either to contribute in the house, or get a part time job to contribute financially. Which I agree is fair by normal standards.

 

It is a really difficult situation and I find it difficult to decide what is compassionate versus what is wise, most beneficial for everyone. I have tried to explain again to her today, the severity of the situation, but I don’t know what else I can do.

 

Much Love,

F

 

ANSWER

I totally agree with your husband, F!

 

You’re such a typical mother! Your love and compassion are real but they’re polluted by your attachment to your children.

 

The best, most compassionate, most kind thing you can do is give your oldest clear guidelines: earn some money, contribute to the household, or leave. Very simple.

 

This forces her then to take responsibility, to make a decision. She has no incentive to do that now because she knows you’ll not force the issue.

 

That’s kindness, F, not what you’re doing.

 

You have to look at your fears of being firm. 

 

What do you think?

 

Rx

 

QUESTION

Dearest Robina,

 

I can be firm, and am firm when it comes to violent or aggressive behavior, but other areas I struggle, I tell the kids things or ask them to do things and it’s like talking to a brick wall.

 

There does need to be consequences and I have agreed with my husband that when the oldest is 18, she needs to earn money, contribute, or leave, as by now she has been given plenty chances. 

 

But I don’t want to hurt her and that’s what my fear is, my father was too firm, he acted out of anger and was aggressive and violent. I can’t bear to see people upset, and I don’t want to upset people, and I get that all mixed up in my head with what is generosity, helping, not acting with anger, and actually being kind.

 

In my mind not upsetting people or causing them distress is kindness, but in reality as you say it’s not kindness at all. When she was younger she was physically and verbally violent when I tried to enforce things and I struggled to cope with it.

 

It’s my aversion to people not being upset or angry with me that’s the problem, and I think that when people are upset that I’ve hurt them. It’s my attachment to having everything nice.

 

Much Love,

F

 

ANSWER

Well done, dear one. It’s hard to be wise and compassionate! As His Holiness says, compassion is not enough — we need wisdom. 

 

Keep moving, baby!

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