My best friend is a hard-working mum of four beautiful kids. Her oldest daughters have gone on to university and established careers. At home, she has a 20-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter. She and her husband are encouraging their teenage daughter to continue her education after high school, but with their adult son, they’re content if he goes a day without smoking weed in the house.
She and her husband expect the bare minimum from their son, and sometimes they don’t even get that.
He is perfectly capable and bright, but he’s been happily unemployed for over a year, long before the pandemic. He plays video games from morning to midnight, locked away in his bedroom, only stepping out for intermittent breaks on the balcony to smoke weed, which his parents have asked him kindly not to do.
But he’s the boss in their house, not his parents.
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Occasionally, he runs errands and helps pay for groceries when he comes into a bit of money from doing small jobs here and there. But mostly, he doesn’t do much around the house.
The worst part is that he gives his mum an attitude when asked to do minor tasks like picking up his sister from school or unloading the dishwasher.
I’m shocked that my friend and her husband have allowed this behaviour to continue day after day for over a year, especially because they’re unhappy. They tell me and our other friends they’re worried their son will achieve nothing in life if he continues the path he is currently on.
And all I can think is, why haven’t you kicked him out? But I say nothing.
The other day, I let myself into my best friend’s house as I’ve done for over 10 years of knowing her and her family. I knew she was on her way home from work and I announced myself to whoever was there. My best friend’s daughter waved from the dining room table where she was doing her homework. I could hear her brother playing a video game in his bedroom, and I heard him curse at whoever had just shot at him in the game.
Moments later, my best friend walked in the door, gave me a hug, and plopped down on the couch. I could see the exhaustion on her face. She worked a physically demanding job and had worked about 11 hours that day.