Our son is starting his second year of university. He’s always been a good student, and has “a few goals” regarding his future choice of study and work, which he hasn’t yet defined for us.
We trust his good judgement and are able to pay for his tuition and rented space in a students’ residence, along with books, etc.
Last year, which was his first living away from home, he mentioned several times the name of a female student living there.
But very recently, and before he returned to school, he’s mentioned her again and we learned that they’ve kept in close touch over the summer.
To our surprise, he asked for an advance on the money we’ll be giving him when school starts... in just weeks. It didn’t make sense to us.
When he hesitated (suddenly looking ill at ease), we were told that his clothes are all wrong, according to this “girlfriend” (he’d never used that description before and we have never met this girl).
He said that he needs extra money to buy the “right” clothes.
I admit that we were taken aback. His university costs alone are somewhat of a reach for us. We also have a daughter who’ll graduate from high school in two years.
My husband and I felt some empathy for our son’s embarrassed request. But we’ve always seen his clothing choices as casual, practical and suitable. Also, he had a part-time job throughout his later high school years, so never asked for an allowance.
But when we hesitated about paying for new clothes, he looked miserable. So, we said we’d discuss it.
One week later, as he was packing to leave, he said we could forget about the new clothes.
The “girlfriend” had dumped him. We ache for his inner pain and outer embarrassment. How can we help him heal this wound?
Son’s Life Lesson
It’s his life to live and learn. He now knows that people – even if he once cared for them - can be shallow and frivolous. He’s also seen the thoughtfulness of his parents in weighing whether a surprise request for more financial help had merit.
And he’s already experienced great family support and should hold that concept close, for now, for his sister’s well-being, and his own future.
His wound will lessen considerably when he ultimately realizes that he’s come away lucky to not be enmeshed in someone else’s false values.
Last year I accepted a new boarder for my well-maintained apartment. I offered him a nicely furnished room. And because he was new here, I took him on a few weekend adventures.
We both had a good time and I paid (nothing too expensive). We both enjoyed the occasional pizza and a movie.
When he asked if two people close to him could stay one week each, I agreed.
I was super friendly and accommodating. However, they always turned me down when I offered to take them out. They did everything without me... even cooking and not including me.
I challenged my roommate but he blamed me for allowing the invite.
Furious, I’m considering asking him to leave (with two months’ notice).
Confused on Etiquette
Your intentions regarding the visitors were generous and well-meant, but misguided. There’s no mutual etiquette here to discuss. They’re new to the area, and chose to explore it themselves.
To avoid future discontent with any renters, you’d benefit from studying Ontario’s Landlord Tenant Act.
My husband's parents, mid-70s, live in Switzerland. We live in Canada.
His parents’ house is borderline hoarding, cluttered with stuff and dust. They do nothing about it. My husband's dad often volunteers or works part-time. His mom is always at home.
We’d like to clean their place, involving them when we visit yearly. And do this before the hoarding worsens or one spouse dies. The other won't manage well alone.
Whenever we raise this, they brush us off.
Among the toughest relationship topics, hoarding is a red-hot issue that equally upsets caring relatives and alarms hoarders who disbelieve and distrust them.
The challenge: Cognitive behavioral therapy is the main treatment for hoarding disorder. So, relatives or others must find a therapist or other mental health provider with treatment expertise.
However, as the Mayo Clinic puts it, some people don't even recognize the negative impact of hoarding on their lives, or they simply don't believe that they need treatment.
Tip of the day:
Some early and harsh life-lessons gradually become better understood and even appreciated, from your own more mature view.