Generation Lazy?: Maria and Alexis

An Ultimatum
Maria says she does everything for her 24-year-old daughter, Alexis, including cleaning her room, doing her laundry and cooking all of her meals, because she “doesn’t do anything for herself.” Maria calls the college graduate a “freeloader,” and says she needs to get her own place.

“I’m not really good at cooking. I’m working all day long while my mom is at home doing laundry. I don’t know what the big deal is. I’m never there, so I’m out of their hair,” Alexis says. “I don’t have that much money coming in.”

Maria says her daughter spends all of her money on shoes and clothing. She says she wants Alexis to save up and get her own place within eight months.

“I just finished school in June, and I got my full-time job in September. A lot of my friends are in the same transition — they just finished university, they’ve entered the work force and they still live at their parents’ place, and they’re not getting pressured every single day to move out,” Alexis says.

“Why do you want her out?” Dr. Phil asks Maria.

“I want her to get her own life. I want to visit her at her apartment. I don’t want to do her laundry anymore; I want her to do it and take care of herself,” Maria responds.

Dr. Phil says that when the economy goes down, sometimes families have to consolidate. “Sometimes people have to move home, they have to live under one roof. You’ll have grandparents who come and live with their kids; you’ll have kids that will live with their parents. You consolidate because it’s just one of the things that you do.”

Alexis says her mother treats moving out like a fairytale. “The realistic point of view is that you need to buy furniture; I don’t have any furniture.”

“We’ll buy some,” Maria interjects.

[AD]“I pride myself on not asking my parents for anything. I’ve worked since I was 14 years old. I buy my own things, but I never run to them for money. I just do my own thing,” Alexis says.

The two bicker about their living situation.

Maria and Alexis face off about money!
Maria says when Alexis was in college, she didn’t mind doing her daughter’s laundry.

“This just happened. I just finished!” Alexis exclaims.

“What do you do with your money?” Dr. Phil asks Alexis. “You don’t pay rent, you don’t pay for food; you don’t pay for a car. What do you do with your money?”

“I pay for a car. I have a phone bill. I do live a life. I go out on weekends with my boyfriend. We go to the movies, we go to breakfast. I don’t consider it freeloading. It’s my money. I worked for it,” Alexis responds. She says she doesn’t understand what her mother wants from her.

“Well, let’s be clear. What do you want? With precision, what do you want?” Dr. Phil asks Maria.

“I want her to save her money so that she can move out in eight months,” Maria says.

Dr. Phil asks Alexis, “How much do you have saved?”

Alexis say she hasn’t started saving money yet because she has been paying off student debts.

“What student debt?” her mother asks.

“You paid for my tuition. I bought my books. I paid for the gas to get to school every day. I paid for parking,” Alexis responds. She lists the items she would have to buy if she got her own place, including a bedroom set, stove and refrigerator, and admits to Dr. Phil, “I’m very afraid to live on my own. I’m petrified of living on my own.” She says having her mother pressure her to move out makes it even worse.

Dr. Phil mentions Alexis’ large closet at her parents’ house, and points out that it would be difficult to replicate that in an apartment. “If you stay home, you have extra money to go on trips and stuff, and if you move out, you can’t do that.”

“Probably not, which is the case for a lot of people,” Alexis says. She says the cost of living would be greater if she lived on her own, and that she’d have to run to her parents for everything, which she doesn’t want to do. “I’ve never done that before. I don’t want to start now.”

“You didn’t have to run to us. We just did it for you,” Maria says.

“When I move out, I want it to be for good, and I have plans to move out,” Alexis says.

“Eight months,” Maria tells Alexis.

“My plan was more like a year, no longer than that,” Alexis responds. “I do want to save up my money and purchase a place rather than rent an apartment.”

[AD]“So, you’re going to be a homeowner?” Dr. Phil asks Alexis.

“Yeah, with my boyfriend,” Alexis responds.

Maria says she offered Alexis $5,000 as long as she could save up an additional $5,000 for a down payment on a condominium. “Are you saving? How much do you have?” she asks her daughter.

Alexis sighs. “Since I’ve finished school, I’ve been paying off a little bit of debt.”

Alexis’ father, Paul, joins the show from Quebec via phone. He says he wants his daughter to start saving money. “She’s got to start now, not wait a couple of years and still be living at home when she’s 30.”

Hear Dr. Phil's advice for this family!

Dr. Phil says, “It is important at times for families to be able to consolidate economically, but that assumes all parties are going to be mature and responsible. It assumes that you negotiate a division of labor, and at a minimum, you take care of everything associated with you.” He asks Alexis if she’s able to pull her own weight until it’s time for her to move out.

“Yeah, I can,” Alexis responds.

“Then, why haven’t you been?” Dr. Phil asks Alexis.

“My mom doesn’t ask me to do anything,” she replies.

“She shouldn’t have to ask you,” Dr. Phil says.

“Thank you very much,” Maria says.

Alexis says that her mother grabs her laundry and does it before she even has a chance to do it herself.

“But she’s going to stop doing that, aren’t you?” Dr. Phil says to Maria.

“No she won’t,” Alexis says.

“Yes, I will,” Maria responds.

“You need to stop doing that,” Dr. Phil tells Maria. “Everybody needs to pull their own weight. Then you don’t have resentment that she’s there.” He tells Maria she needs to stop treating Alexis like she’s 12 years old.

“She likes it though,” Alexis says.

[AD]“I’m making it too easy for her,” Maria admits.

“You need to sit down and actually write out what the division of labor is. Everybody signs it, that’s your deal, and you don’t keep doing this for her or else you’ll never get her prepared to go to the next level in her life,” Dr. Phil tells Maria. “She’s got to pull her own weight both financially and with chores around the house.”