Your 18-year-old son is a freshman in college. He just came home for the first time and brought two bags of laundry which he just dumped in the laundry room. You had never agreed to do his laundry for him now that he is in college and you really don't think you should be doing it for him. He didn't say anything about it, but it is apparent that he intends for you to do it. What do you do?
(A) Tell him that you are not going to do his laundry for him. Let him know that he is welcome to use the washer and dryer at home, but that he will have to do the laundry himself.
(B) He has a lot of other things planned for this weekend. Go ahead and do the laundry for him.
(C) Just leave the bags of laundry there and don't do anything.
(D) Do the laundry for him this time, but tell him that from now on he will be expected to do it himself.
If you answered:
(A) This is the best response. It is direct and allows for a solution before he returns to school.
(B) If you start out this way, you might as well plan on doing his laundry every time he comes home. Since you have already said that you don't think you should be doing his laundry, see Choice A.
(C) This forces him to do it on his own, but will probably result in a conflict when he gets ready to return to school after his visit. It is better to confront the problem directly and solve it. See Choice A.
(D) If he is going to be expected to do his own laundry, there is no reason that he should not start now. Waiting until next time will make it more likely that he won't do it himself then either. See Choice A.
Dr. Proefrock is a local clinical psychologist specializing in children, adolescents and families.
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