Young in-law has worn out his welcome

Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: My husband's brother has been living with us since he graduated from high school last year. He had a summer job working in construction. He got laid off in August and hasn't bothered to try to find another job. I come home from work, and the house is a disaster! He'll pick up after himself after I say something, but I don't feel I should have to tell an adult to do so. Lately he does absolutely nothing because I've gotten tired of asking him. My husband does nothing to help change the situation. I've told my husband to take him to places to apply for a job. I've offered to take him, but he refuses. I love my brother-in-law and would rather not have to ask him to find somewhere else to go, but he does not respect us or our home. He's mooching off us, and we're just letting it happen. Please help!

--Doormat

DEAR DOORMAT: I actually feel a little bit sorry for this young man. He is completely without direction, and the two adults in his life are basically leaving him to his own devices. And look -- he has no devices.

You sound like very nice and generous people, but every time you passively seethe, you miss an opportunity to force this young person closer to adulthood.

You and your husband should work together to launch him. You should write down a list of household chores he must perform each day. Sit down with him (together) to give him reasonable goals and expectations. Let him know that you will help him with ideas, transportation, etc., for a job search, and set a reasonable length of time to find something.

With the economy picking up, builders are looking for workers. If he isn't willing to even look for a job, you should send him to the military recruiter's office. The military offers job training and direction for young people, as well as an opportunity to serve the country.