"Our Grown Daughter Moved Back In"

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Sean's Turn

"Last night I got up to go to the bathroom and stepped in a puddle of puppy pee," said Sean, 47, a financial planner. "So it's not as if I don't get what Meg's talking about. Still, I think she's making mountains out of molehills. Are a few dishes in the sink that big a deal? Lately Meg has been overreacting to everything.

"What did she think would happen with Kim home? Our daughter has been on her own for four years. We didn't know where she was every minute. Why would she call now and tell us where she is? Meg needs to lighten up.

"When Kim was growing up Meg and I rarely saw eye to eye on parenting. I grew up on a farm and while I wasn't thrilled to do chores, I knew they were important. So I always believed Kim should have regular duties. But Meg wouldn't hear of it -- she insisted that 'school was Kim's job.' Meg was always scurrying around, making sure that Kim's life ran smoothly. One time she drove to Staples at 10 p.m. to buy paper because Kim didn't have any and needed to print her English essay, which was due the next day. I thought that was a mistake. As far as I was concerned, it was our daughter's responsibility to keep track of her supplies and to face the consequences if she ran out. How can a child learn self-sufficiency if her mom bails her out each and every time?

"Now that Kim is back home, Meg's at it again, doing everything for the kid. But this time around she complains constantly. I'm sympathetic -- but only up to a point. If Meg thinks Kim doesn't appreciate her efforts, then she should stop, pure and simple. Don't do something and then moan about it. When Meg starts storming around the house, I don't want to be anywhere near her. So I make myself scarce -- and then she gets mad at me for not listening.

"I'm not saying I don't have issues with Kim. She swore she'd take care of her dog, yet I'm the one who walks him most of the time. But it's not easy to live under your parents' roof after being on your own. To me, a lot of her 'problems' aren't really problems at all.

"I honestly don't know what's going on with Meg. She snaps at me for no reason. If I try to hug her, she pushes me away. She never wants to have sex, even if Kim's out of the house. In the space of five months our marriage has gone from fantastic to miserable. And I don't believe it's Kim's fault."

Continued on page 3:  The Counselor's Turn


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