Originally Published: March 16, 2018 5:58 a.m.
Dear Annie: My roommate has an annoying habit. Every time he uses the bathroom, he keeps the water running. We live in a drought-ridden area, and I don’t want to think about the amount of water he wastes each day. We’ve lived together successfully for just over a year now, without any real fights. I don’t want to make a big deal out of this, but I do want him to get the impact of leaving the faucet on. We have separate bathrooms, so the first time I heard the running water was a few months into living together. I casually asked about it, and he said he’s been self-conscious of bathroom noise since he was little. I didn’t want to push it too much because it seemed to be a sensitive issue, but I mentioned the drought and how it might be a waste. He agreed but didn’t change his actions. He pays the water bill, and I pay the cable, so it’s not a matter of money. But I find myself super aware of every time he goes to the bathroom, which is not a habit I want. Annie, I’m not sure how to approach him about this again or how to stop caring so much. Got any advice? — Water Waster
Dear Water Waster: You could suggest to your roommate that he buy a fan or a noise machine so he can get the effect of running water without the waste. But at the end of the day, bathroom habits are highly personal, and you can’t control your roommate’s. So the most practical advice here: Be the change you want to see in the environment. Compensate for his overuse of water by reducing your usage. Visit https://wateruseitwisely.com for some creative ideas on how to do that.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Mom Running in Circles,” whose daughter is in her 20s and constantly goes to her with problems yet seems uninterested in solutions.
Years ago, I became a volunteer for a crisis line. Before we picked up a phone to help, we had 60 hours of training by psychologists and other educators so that we could be effective in dealing with our callers. I, being a parent of four children, learned a great deal that stuck with me. One of the major things I learned was to not give out solutions to a problem.
Children whose parents are willing to solve their problems for them turn them into adults who rely on others to do the same thing.
When children have a math problem that they need to solve, do you give them the answer? No! To be successful in math, they have to learn the process and come up with the answer.
When helping adults with problems, we ask, “Have you been in this or a similar situation before? How did you deal with it? Were you successful?” If you solve people’s problems yourself, you weaken them in the long run. If you aid people in solving problems themselves, you help to strengthen them.
The daughter of “Mom Running in Circles” doesn’t need therapy; she needs someone to listen and help her to see the solutions that she can come up with. If you want independent children, help them to learn to solve their own problems. It may make you feel good as a parent of children to solve their problems for them, but not so much as a parent of adult children. — Not the Solver
Dear Not the Solver: So well-said. Thank you for sharing your insights from parenthood and your time as a volunteer on a crisis hotline. I agree totally.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.