Daughter lacking life skills

I have a pretty, petite 24-year-old daughter who is quite immature for her age. She looks like she is 15.

Dear Annie: I have a pretty, petite 24-year-old daughter who is quite immature for her age. She looks like she is 15.

She still lives at home, occasionally helps around the house and attends the local community college. But she can’t keep a job for long.

People who know our daughter tell us how wonderful she is because she is not pregnant or doing drugs. But we feed her, clothe her, pay for her car, gas, etc. Lately, she has had boyfriend problems. She tends to pick guys who are loaded with baggage. When she is not with a guy her own age, she hangs out with the senior men at the Veterans of Foreign Wars club. They allow her to deal the cards at their poker games and make her feel wanted.

How can we get her to grow up without being the bad guys? She does not know how to cook or take care of herself, so we are reluctant to simply throw her out. But we want her to do things other people her age do. Any advice? — Clueless in California

Dear Clueless: If you are concerned that your daughter doesn’t have sufficient life skills to manage on her own, then teach her. Put her in charge of cooking dinner one night a week. Show her how to do her own laundry. Tell her she will need a part-time job to pay for room and board. Then help her look for her own apartment. While she is in school, you may wish to subsidize her rent, but living independently will help her mature. We highly recommend it.

Dear Annie: I just graduated from college and two of my friends and I planned a camping party to celebrate. I made the reservation months ago. A week before the party, one of the girls backed out.

We had an understanding that we would split all the costs, and I would pay the money upfront. Since I paid for the reservation, I told my friend she still needs to reimburse me for her portion because the campsite won’t cancel with less than two weeks’ notice. My friend refuses to pay her share. Am I wrong to insist? — Arizona State

Dear Arizona: Yes, your friend should reimburse you. If you cannot find someone else to join the camping trip at this late date, tell your friend you expect her to pay you back, even if it’s $5 a month. Of course, if she refuses, this becomes an expensive lesson in learning which of your friends are responsible and trustworthy.

Dear Annie: I was tickled by the letter from “Midwest Farmer’s Wife,” the woman who married a farmer and is now treated as just another farmhand. A similar thing happened to me.

I grew up on a farm and decided early on that I would never be a farmer’s wife. I married a nice guy who sold insurance. About 15 years later, we moved to the country. He kept his day job, but started planting vegetables and growing almost everything in the seed catalogue. He expected me to be the chief weed-puller, canning expert and freezing maven.

I did not sign up for this. I was already keeping the house, mowing the lawn and taking care of things when he was gone during the day. I had also returned to college part time. When I told him I didn’t care to take on this additional responsibility, he accused me of being lazy. To make a long story short, we aren’t married anymore and I buy all of my produce at the grocery store. — Canaan, Conn.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net

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