Shayne on You: When in doubt, make cookies

Dear Maggie,

How do I motivate my daughter, who recently returned home, to start job hunting? Granted, her life has been in the dumps lately, but I canít support her for very long. I hate to be the nagging mother, but I canít figure out how to motivate her without her rolling her eyes and telling me, ďI know, MOM!Ē

Frustrated Mom

Dear Frustrated Mom,

Nagging wonít work anyway, so donít bother. However, prepare to face the eye rolling, because thereís probably no way around it. I think the key here is honest, open, communication.

Iíd try explaining to her that you canít afford to support her indefinitely, and that you really donít feel youíd be doing her any favors by doing so, even if you could. Part of growing up is learning to support oneís self. As an adult, when you donít have a job, your job is to find a job. Remind her that you have to get up and go to work every day, and ask if she thinks itís healthy for her to stay at home while you do.

Another point to make is that by looking for work and finding it, sheís going to move through her depression a whole lot faster. Basking in it just feeds it, and that makes it grow. Starve it of your attention, and it fades away more easily.

Finally, and this is the tough part, Iíd give her some specifics, including a deadline. Iíd say something like this. ďI love you so much that Iím going to give you the most valuable gift I can give you, even though it would be a lot easier for me to just let you lie around and grow moss. I know that would be harmful to you, not helpful. So, you get a free pass until (insert date here.) After that, youíre going to need to hold down a job and contribute X-dollars toward our living expenses, or find a place of your own. By doing those things, youíre going to be empowered, and become a strong, independent woman who can make her own way in the world. A woman who can never be held down or held back. A woman who can accomplish anything. And thatís the woman Iíve raised you to be, because I love you.Ē

Also, be sure to ditch any tendency you might have toward criticizing her habits, and focus instead on praising even the most minimal effort she makes. Those efforts will grow if you do.

Good luck to you both!


Dear Maggie,

I live in a townhouse, which doesnít have a drivewayówe park in front of our house as do the other people who live in this building. A guy who lives across the street has a driveway of his own, but parks in front of our place every day. Not only does he park there, but he makes it difficult for anyone else to park there and his car has an oil leak. Heís very inconsiderate. The people who lived here before us said they talked with him and he didnít care and parked there regardless. Heís well aware we have only the street to park on. Do I approach him? Leave it alone? Am I being petty?

Thanks Maggie!


Problems Parking

Dear Problems Parking,

Bake him some cookies!

No, Iím serious. If the former residents tried talking to him, and probably made this issue into a bone of contention, then obviously, that route wonít work. In fact it would probably only lead to an ongoing feud, hard feelings, and each side trying to do more things to make life unpleasant for the other. And thatís going to be miserable for all concerned.

So if talking and arguing wonít work, why bother? Instead, Iíd try reaching out to this neighbor. Make a point to wave and smile and say hello when you see him. Offer to do small neighborly things for him now and then, like dog sit or keep an eye on the place while heís away or shovel his section of the sidewalk while youíre out shoveling your own. Iíd drop a friendly card in his mail now and then, and share extra cookies when Iím baking, or leave a basket of fruit on his doorstep. I would get to know him as a person, not as a problem, and who knows what might come of it?

Maybe heíd feel kindly toward you and just stop taking your parking space all on his own. Maybe youíd learn that thereís some deep reason why he feels the need to park on the road. Maybe all youíll get out of it is a new friend. And if thatís all you get, then thatís something pretty valuable. Way more valuable than convenient parking.

And please let me know how it works out. I have a very good feeling about this one. When a person is unpleasant to others for no apparent reason, itís usually because they are unhappy or lonely. Happy people are far more pleasant to be around. So do little things to brighten his life and see what happens. Just make sure you donít appear to be faking it just to get your parking spot back. Be sincere. Itíll be good, youíll see.



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